December 9, 2014
Congratulations! You have started a business and are expanding to hire new employees. This is a major step for your business. Being an employer comes with great responsibility and many legal obligations. Below are five employment law tips for when you decide to hire employees:
- Secure written employment contractsSimple, well-drafted employment contracts can clearly define the employment relationship, set out the rights and responsibilities of each party, and avoid confusion in the workplace. Contracts should clearly set out the terms of employment and what will happen if the employment relationship is terminated by either party. Important to note, contracts must be compliant with governing law to be enforceable. Ideally, a lawyer should draft these contracts to avoid common pitfalls and make sure your business is protected.
- Implement written workplace policiesWorkplace policies give your workplace clarity and direction. They provide a strong foundation for you to proactively manage and resolve issues and conflicts in the workplace. They are also a helpful tool in structuring workplace culture and educating staff about their rights and responsibilities. It is important to implement your workplace policies and review them on a regular basis. Your business can have written policies that address a wide range of topics such as dress code, workplace violence and harassment, human rights, and absenteeism. In some situations, you are required by law to have certain written workplace policies.
- Know, understand, and act in accordance with your legal obligationsAs an employer you have many legal obligations. It is vital to the success of your business that you know, understand and act in accordance with your legal obligations. For example, there are many minimum “employment standards” that will impact your business including vacation pay, overtime pay, minimum wage, protected leaves of absences, sick days, and termination and severance entitlements. Employers also have very important human rights obligations in the workplace including providing a workplace that is free of discrimination and reasonably accommodating human rights needs to the point of undue hardship.
- Endeavour to create a positive workplaceEmployees are a vital part of any business and will contribute directly to the success or downfall of your business. The saying “a happy employee is a productive employee” rings true in many workplaces. As an employer, it is in your best interests to encourage and implement a positive workplace: Do your employees feel valued? Are their ideas and labour respected? Do they feel safe and happy coming to work? Do they feel connected to the goals of your business? Employees who are set up to succeed will in turn help your business succeed.
- Include employment needs and goals in your internal business planAs you know, your internal business plan is very important to providing organization and vision to your growing business. Ensure your business plan addresses your employment needs and goals: How many employees will you require in 1, 5, 10 years? How much of your budget is allocated for employee remuneration including termination and severance pay? Have you budgeted for employee appreciation initiatives? Have you budgeted for legal costs? By proactively strategizing and planning the employment needs and goals of your business you will be prepared for whatever your workplace throws your way!