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Posts by: Matthew Finley

Maternity and Paternity Rights: A Guide for Employers

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business, For you on by .

When a member of staff is pregnant, or has a partner who is pregnant, it’s important that their rights are protected. 

Not adhering to your responsibilities as an employer could lead to claims of unlawful maternity discrimination being raised against you, so it’s a good idea to get to grips with what is expected from both parties to avoid potentially costly litigation further down the line.

The team here at DRN have compiled a comprehensive guide, including FAQs, to help you with getting the maternity/paternity process right. 


When is an employee required to make me aware of her pregnancy? 

You should be made aware of an employee’s pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the due date. It is not required by law that the employee provide any evidence in writing, however you may wish to request a written confirmation of the pregnancy, which can be supplied as a MAT B1 form signed by a doctor or midwife. 

An employee who is planning on adopting a child should provide you with written notice in the form of a SC4 document, no later than seven days after they have been matched with a child, or at least 28 days before they intend to take their adoption leave. 


Do I need to complete a risk assessment of the workplace for a pregnant employee? 

As an employer, you have a duty of care to all employees in the workplace. As such, you are required to complete a full workplace risk assessment in the event that a member of staff falls pregnant. This risk assessment should examine any potential risks that may be posted to a new or expectant mother. 

If the assessment identifies any risks, you will be required by law to either make changes to your employee’s working conditions or adjust their working hours in order to mitigate the risk. If such changes are not possible, you will need to consider suitable alternative work for your employee. 


Is my employee entitled to paid time off for ante-natal appointments? 

Any employee who is pregnant has a statutory right to paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments during working hours, and this includes travel time to and from the appointment. 

Fathers and partners of expectant mothers also have the right to take time off to attend ante-natal appointments, but there is no expectation for their time off to be paid, and the allowance need only be made for two appointments, capped at 6.5 hours each. The same is true for surrogacy parents. 

If your employee is adopting, they are entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments once they have been matched with a child. 


How much time can an employee take for maternity or paternity leave? 

An expectant mother under your employ will be entitled to take up to 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, regardless of their length of service in your company. Whilst they may not wish to take the full 52 weeks, it is required by law that the mother must take at least two weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born, or four if working in a factory. 

Your employee will still have a right to paid maternity leave if their baby is born early, or in the unfortunate event that the child is stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy, or if the child passes after being born. 

The father of the baby will be entitled to Statutory Paternity Leave, which amounts to two consecutive weeks of paid parental leave after the baby has been born. This right is also extended to those who are in an established relationship with the expectant mother, and those who are adopting or having a baby through surrogacy. 


Do I still need to make pension contributions for an employee on maternity or paternity leave? 

In short, yes – you will be required to continue to make full pension contributions for an employee during their period of paid leave. You cannot make any changes to the pension contribution which may reflect that the employee is being paid less than normal, however the employee will be entitled to reduce their own contribution into their pension scheme if they choose to. 


Can an employee choose to return to work before their maternity leave has ended? 

An employee may change their mind and decide they would like to return to work sooner than the date you have agreed, but as the employer you can request at least eight weeks of notice in such instances. 


Is an employee entitled to flexible working after returning from leave? 

Yes – an employee returning from maternity or paternity leave has the right to return to the same or a similar job, and can also request flexible working, as long as this is provided in writing and in good time before their scheduled return date. 

Accommodating flexible working arrangements might include adjusting hours or shift patterns, so that your employee works the same number of hours but over a shorter period, a reduction to part-time working hours, flexi-time, a switch to shift-working, or a move to remote working. 

An employee’s request for flexible working needs to be considered seriously, however you are not required by law to grant the request. A refusal may be made if there are genuine reasons, such as if an employee’s flexible working arrangements would have a negative impact on your business or other members of staff. Whatever your reasons, you will need to outline them thoroughly for your employee in writing. 


Can an employee resign whilst on maternity, paternity or adoption leave? 

Yes, an employee may resign from their position whilst on maternity, paternity or adoption leave. They must provide their normal contractual notice, and this may be done so that their contract of employment ends at the same time that their leave is due to end. 


Starting maternity or paternity leave 

For mothers: 

The earliest an employee can choose to start their maternity leave is 11 weeks before the week of the due date. If your employee would like to change the start date of their maternity leave, they are required to provide at least 28 days’ notice. 

For fathers and partners: 

Leave will begin upon the birth of the baby, and cannot begin prior to the birth. However, should a father or partner wish to delay the start of their leave until a number of days after the birth of the child, they are entitled to do so, as long as this has been agreed with the employer. 

For adoptive parents: 

As with those who are expecting a baby, couples who are adopting have a right to paid leave. The date their adoption leave can start will be dependent on whether they have a child through a surrogacy arrangement, or if they have adopted from the UK or overseas. 

For adoptions taking place within the UK, an employee can begin their adoption leave up to 14 days before the date the child starts living with them, on the actual date of adoption, or an agreed number of days after the child has moved in. 

The same applies for those who are adopting a child from overseas, however the law outlines that adoption leave must be taken within 56 days of the child’s placement in the new home, or their arrival in the UK). 

It’s important to note that adoption leave is only available to one parent, but the other parent can choose to take paternity leave. 


Maternity and paternity leave and pay entitlements

For mothers: 

To qualify for statutory maternity pay (39 weeks), an employee must earn at least £118 per week and provide you with the correct notice, as well as a written letter or maternity certificate signed by a doctor or midwife which proves their pregnancy. The employee must also have been continuously employed at your company for at least 26 weeks up to and including the 15th week prior to the child’s due date. 

Statutory maternity pay offers 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of leave, after which this rate drops. For the remaining 33 weeks, the employee will be entitled to either £148.68 per week, or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. 

Parents who are having a child through surrogacy will not be entitled to statutory maternity pay, but they may qualify for statutory adoption leave and pay. 

For fathers and partners: 

Ordinary statutory paternity pay offers the same rate of pay as statutory maternity – 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings, or £148.68 per week, whichever is lower. 

For adoptive parents: 

The maximum amount of leave an adoptive parent can take totals 52 weeks – 26 weeks are covered by ordinary adoption leave, and the further 26 will be covered by additional adoption leave. 

In order to be eligible for adoption leave, an employee must have been in continual employment at your company for at least 26 weeks prior to their being matched with a child. For overseas adoptions, an employee must have been working for you for 26 weeks prior to the child’s arrival in the UK, or by the date they want their leave to begin. 

An employee on adoption leave will be entitled to earn 90% of their gross weekly wage for the first six weeks of leave. After the initial six-week period, this rate then drops to £148.68 per week for the next 33 weeks of leave, or it can remain at 90% of their gross weekly wage (whichever is lower). 


Comprehensive HR & Employment Law Advice 

Maternity and paternity rights can be a tricky area of the law to navigate, particularly if it’s something you’ve not dealt with before. 

Contact our team of HR and employment law specialists today for professional support, advice and guidance on an employee’s maternity or paternity rights, and your own as an employer, to eliminate the risk of any claims arising due to misinformation, misinterpretation, or mishandled procedures. 




Can my staff work without a contract of employment?

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business on by .

Employment law, with its constantly changing rules and regulations, is one of the trickiest areas of law to stay on top of. However, making a mistake in this area can lead to unexpected and costly disputes from employees, so it’s important to do your research and check in with your solicitor on what is required of you as a business owner before you make any decisions relating to your employees, or any other aspect of your business. 

In an effort to help with making things a little bit clearer, we’ve put together this short blog post for those looking for answers regarding employment contracts for both temporary and permanent employees. 


Can an employee start work without a contract? 

Yes, although it is not advisable to welcome a new member of staff on board without first having an employment contract in place for them. 

Whilst it is not a legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of employment, not doing so could not only cause confusion between you and your employee, but it could leave you vulnerable to potential claims or disputes later down the line. 

It is best practice to have a thorough contract of employment drafted before an employee’s start date, so that you can both know what is expected of each of you from the first day of employment. 


Is it illegal for someone to work without a contract of employment? 

No, it is not illegal for someone to work without a contract of employment in place, whether they are a temporary or a permanent member of staff. However, it may leave both the employee and the employer at risk of entering into a dispute if the terms of the employment are not outlined at an early stage. 


How to write an employment contract 

Drafting contracts of employment can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting up your business and have little experience in hiring or managing people. 

Whilst some contracts will have different terms and benefits depending on the industry, employer, and the level of the role (i.e. entry-level, associate, executive, etc.), most contracts of employment will feature the following details; 

  • The name of the employee and the employer 
  • The employee’s start date 
  • The employee’s job title and a description of the role 
  • Details regarding the rate of pay/annual salary 
  • The address for the normal place of work (if remote/hybrid working is permitted, this should be outlined) 
  • The method via which the employee will be paid (i.e. monthly via BACS transfer) 
  • Terms relating to expected working hours
  • An outline of the employee’s holiday entitlement 
  • Details relating to public holidays and holiday pay 
  • Information on the company’s policy for sick pay, sickness leave and bereavement leave 
  • Information on the company’s maternity/paternity leave policy 
  • Any details relating to pension schemes
  • The duration of notice required by the company terminate the contract of employment, or vice versa 
  • If beginning with a probationary period, the date on which this will be complete 
  • An outline of the disciplinary procedure 
  • Any benefits that are relevant to the role 


Help with writing a contract of employment 

At DRN, our expert team of employment law solicitors are on hand to complete, review and advise on your employment contracts to ensure they’re detailed, thorough, and that they cover all of the key aspects they need to. 

Our comprehensive range of services is offered on a fixed-fee or retainer basis for all of our business clients, providing you with on-demand support as and when you need it. By signing up for a retainer package with DRN, for a fixed monthly fee, our team of employment law experts will provide you with unlimited, on-demand support and legal advice that you can trust. Get in touch with our team to find out more! 



What is Wrongful Arrest?

This entry was posted in Actions Against Police, Crime, For you on by .

There are three reasons a police officer may lawfully conduct an arrest; a) if a person is wanted on a warrant, b) if the officer has reason to believe that the person has been involved in a crime, or c) if the officer has reasonable belief that the person may be preparing to commit an offence, therefore making their arrest necessary. 

Whilst the law distinguishes between arrestable and non-arrestable offences, a person can still be arrested for a non-arrestable offence if the police have good reason to do so, such as if they believe the person suspected of committing a crime is providing them with false information. 

When an arrest is made, there are certain procedures that need to be followed. If you have been arrested, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these procedures so that you can be aware if they are not followed, as if they aren’t, you may be able to make a wrongful arrest claim.


What are my rights if I’m arrested? 

If you have been arrested, you are entitled to know the reason for your detainment, which should be provided by the police officers handling your arrest. 

Whilst this doesn’t have to be done immediately, police officers are required to provide you with a reason for your detainment as soon as they reasonably can, otherwise your arrest could be deemed unlawful. 

If you are arrested, the police must also: 

  • Identify themselves as police officers 
  • Inform you of your arrest, and tell you the crime you are accused of committing 
  • Explain their reasons for arresting you, and why your arrest is necessary 
  • Explain the terms of your arrest (i.e. that you are being detained and cannot leave)

In addition, the following fundamental human rights will also apply: 

  • The right to be treated humanely 
  • The right to speak with the custody officer, who is responsible for your welfare whilst detained 
  • The right to see a written notice which outlines your rights whilst in custody, such as the food and comfort breaks you are entitled to
  • The right to notify a family member or friend of the arrest (although you may not be permitted to make the phone call yourself) 
  • The right to seek reliable legal advice and representation, and to consult with your solicitor in private 
  • The right to request medical help if you are ill 
  • The right to an interpreter if you don’t speak or understand English, or if you’re deaf or have other hearing difficulties 


How long can I be detained for after arrest? 

If you are arrested, the police are only legally allowed to detain you for a maximum of 24 hours. This limit is extended to 36 hours if you are suspected to have committed a more serious arrestable offence. 

For this reason, it’s vital that you ensure the time of arrest is written correctly on your custody record. 


When does a legal arrest become unlawful? 

An arrest that has been conducted lawfully may become unlawful when: 

  • You are being kept under arrest when there is no longer a valid reason to be 
  • You aren’t charged with an offence, even though there may be enough evidence against you to do so 
  • The officers handling your arrest don’t adhere to the rules and procedures outlined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 


I’m a victim of wrongful arrest. Can I sue the police? 

If you believe you may have been subject to an arrest that was unlawfully conducted, such as if you were detained longer than necessary, if you were denied your basic rights whilst in custody, or if you were treated poorly by the authorities handling your arrest, you may be able to make a claim against the police. 

Claims against the police may be made for: 

  • Wrongful arrest 
  • False imprisonment 
  • Assault 
  • Malicious prosecution 
  • Accidental disclosure of personal information 

It’s important to note that there is a period of expiry on claims brought against the authorities. You will need to begin the claims process within 12 months of the event if you wish to make a claim for a breach of your human rights. This is extended to three years for negligence claims, assault claims and injury claims (including for psychological injuries), whilst claims of false imprisonment, misfeasance or trespass will need to be brought about within six years of the event. 

It’s advisable to pursue your claim as early as possible, as your memory and any evidence will still be fresh. 


How can I make a wrongful arrest claim?

Enlisting the help of a reliable legal professional should be your first port of call, as a solicitor will be able to evaluate your case and evidence and determine how likely it is that your claim is successful. 

At DRN, we recognise that pursuing claims of this nature can be both mentally and emotionally taxing, particularly if you have been subject to violence or abuse at the hands of the police. 

Our expert team of solicitors have years of experience in dealing with claims of this nature, and promise to do so with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism. 

To make a start on your claim against the police today, please contact our offices on 01282 433241, and a member of our team will be happy to assist you. 



Sunak’s Budget Announcement – What does it mean for you and your business?

This entry was posted in Business Law, Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

The Government’s budget has recently been announced, with updates made to several aspects, including income and corporation tax, and an extension to the furlough scheme put into place. 

What does the new budget mean for you and your business?  


Extension to Furlough Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 

The Furlough Scheme and the Self-Employment income support scheme have both been extended to September 2021. 

Furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of their wages until the scheme ends, but as the scheme is gradually phased out towards the end of the year, employers will be required to begin making contributions of 10% in July, and 20% in August and September. 

Restart Grants 

£5 billion has been assigned to new Restart Grants, which will provide a one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, and gym businesses in England. 

Apprenticeship Hiring Incentive 

The apprenticeship hiring incentive in England has been extended to September 2021, offering an increase in payment of £3,000. 

Income Tax 

The Chancellor announced that no changes will be made to income tax rates or national insurance rates, whilst personal income tax allowance is set to be frozen at £12,570 from April 2022 to April 2026, with the threshold for higher rate income tax also frozen, being kept at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026. 

Corporation Tax 

We are set to see a corporation tax rise on company profits in April 2023, when it will increase from 19% to 25%. 

The rate is set to be kept at 19% for smaller companies with profits of less than £50,000, and will be tapered so that only businesses with profits exceeding £250,000 per year will be taxed at the 25% rate. 

The rules for carrying back losses will also change. Businesses can currently carry back losses for 12 months, but this will be extended to 36 months. 


Set to start in April 2021, the new super-deduction will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every £1 they invest in new equipment. With companies able to deduct investment costs from tax bills, the taxable profits will be reduced by around 130%.

This move will be worth around £25 billion to UK companies over the two-year period the super-deduction will be in effect. 


Hospitality businesses will benefit from a reduced VAT rate of 5%, which will be maintained until September. From September onwards, an interim 12.5% rate will apply for the following six months. 


Other budget announcements 

Stamp Duty Holiday

The stamp duty holiday that was first introduced in July 2020 in a bid to boost the UK property market will be extended to June 2021, with homebuyers relieved from paying stamp duty on all property purchases up to the value of £500,000. 

Mortgage Guarantee 

The new mortgage guarantee scheme will allow buyers to purchase a property with a small deposit of just 5%, guaranteeing a loan of up to 95% on properties valued up to £600,000. 


Looking for advice? 

DRN’s specialist HR and Employment Law team are dedicated to providing sound, reliable business advice that you can trust. For more information surrounding best business practices in the current climate, please contact a member of our tema on 01282 433241. 

Uber loses in the Supreme Court – What can we learn about Employment Law?

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business, For you on by .

The ongoing case of Uber vs. Aslam has recently come to a close in the Supreme Court. Following an initial employment tribunal in 2016 involving two former Uber drivers, which saw the judge rule that those who work for Uber are considered ‘workers’, not ‘self-employed subcontractors’, the case was moved to appeal by Uber in 2017, and later addressed in the High Court in 2018. 

With the ruling remaining in all three tribunals, Uber made a last attempt to have it overruled by escalating the appeal to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the British legal system. 


It has recently been announced that the Supreme Court found the original ruling to stand – Uber drivers are indeed, in the eyes of the law, workers, deeming them so from the moment they log into the app and make themselves available for work in the area, to the moment they log out of the app at the end of their working day, effectively signing off.

As a result of this ruling, Uber drivers are entitled to claim national minimum wage, including back pay, and this is based on the full working day, not just for the instances they were transporting a passenger. 


Drivers are entitled to claim up to two years’ back pay, or £25,000 – whichever is the larger amount, and may do so by seeking an employment tribunal. For claims exceeding this amount, for up to six years’ back pay, drivers may address their claim in the County Court. 

In addition, as workers, drivers will also be able to claim 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave every year, and will have whistleblowing and similar employment rights. This judgement, however, does not entitle drivers to full ‘employee’ rights, such as the right to redundancy payment, or the right to claim unfair dismissal. 


What does the Uber case teach us about Employment Law? 

This latest ruling could change the gig economy moving forward, and it could directly impact your own business if you regularly work with self-employed subcontractors or casual workers. 

As such, it’s important to get to grips with the key differences between an employee, a worker, and a self-employed person. 


What are the differences between an employee, a worker, and a self-employed person? 

Whilst there are a number of similarities between these roles, there are also a number of key differences which you need to be aware of. 



  • Have an employment contract 
  • Are provided with regular work 
  • Are obliged to carry out the work they are contracted to do 

Employment rights for employees include: 

  • Being given written terms which outline the rights and responsibilities associated with the role 
  • Being paid national minimum wage 
  • Being given payslips with each pay 
  • Being protected against unlawful discrimination in the workplace, whistleblowing, and unfair treatment (whether they are full-time or part-time) 
  • Receiving sick pay, holiday pay, and paid parental leave 
  • Being able to claim redundancy payment and unfair dismissal (after two years of service) 



  • Have a contract for their services 
  • Have no obligation to complete a set amount of work (for example, in zero-hour contracts), but should complete the work they have agreed to do 

Employment rights for workers include: 

  • Being given written terms which outline the rights and responsibilities associated with the role 
  • Being paid national minimum wage 
  • Being given payslips with each pay 
  • Being protected against unlawful discrimination in the workplace, whistleblowing, and unfair treatment 


A person will be considered as self-employed if they: 

  • Are responsible for managing how and when they work 
  • Are a freelancer, or the owner of a company 
  • Send invoices to receive their pay 
  • Get contracts to provide services to clients 
  • Are able to send someone else to do the work for them 
  • Are able to work for a range of different clients and charge different fees 
  • Do not receive holiday pay or paid sick leave 

Those who are self-employed do have fewer employment rights, however some basic entitlements are: 

  • Protection for their health and safety whilst on a client’s premises 
  • Protection against discrimination 


Employment Law involves constantly changing legislation, and as such can be difficult to follow and stay up to date with. 

At DRN, our expert solicitors offer a range of HR services as part of a comprehensive package, which can be tailored entirely to suit your needs, and the needs of your business. 

For more information, please get in touch with a member of our team on 01282 433241. 


Header Image - Flexible Furlough

COVID-19 – What is flexible furlough?

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

Flexible furlough is a scheme introduced by the UK Government to allow employers more flexibility over the working hours of their furloughed employees. 

Previously, employees who were placed on furlough were not legally allowed to complete any work for their employer.

The flexible furlough scheme allows employees to work on a part-time basis, with the remainder of their normal working hours subsidised at 80% by the Government. 


How can I place an employee on flexible furlough? 

As an employer, you will need to provide a written confirmation to your employee of the flexible furlough arrangements you intend to make. This will still be required if your employee has already been placed on furlough, as Government guidance refers to a flexible furlough arrangement as a new agreement. 


It is advised that employers notify any employees they intend to place on a flexible furlough arrangement first via telephone, before following this up in writing via email or letter. As an employer, you should endeavour to outline the basic details of the new furlough agreement, including which hours the employee will be required to work and which hours the employee will remain furloughed for. 


If you require assistance in drafting a new flexible furlough agreement, please contact our offices on 01282 433241. 


How do I calculate pay for employees who have returned to work under the flexible furlough scheme?

Employees who are working in accordance with a flexible furlough agreement are entitled to their full contractual pay for the hours that they work. The Government will then subsidise the remainder of their wage for the hours that they do not work at a rate of 80%, as in the original furlough scheme arrangement. 


Will employees still accrue holidays whilst on flexible furlough? 

For employees who are on full-time furlough or a flexible furlough arrangement, holidays will be accrued in the same way, at the full rate of pay. 

If an employee who is working on a flexible furlough arrangement decided to take any of their furloughed hours as holiday, the employer would then be responsible for paying their full wage in accordance with their contractual rate for those hours. 


What records will I have to keep? 

The records you will need to keep are similar to those for the original furlough scheme, which are records of: 

  • The amount claimed and the claim period for each employee 
  • The claim reference number 
  • Usual working hours 
  • Actual working hours for employees who are on flexible furlough 


You should keep these records on file for at least six years

It’s also advised that, unless the working hours are made clear within the written agreement, a written record of hours, or a timesheet for furloughed staff, is kept on file and retained with other records. 


For further advice relating to furlough arrangements or any other matters of employment law, please contact our team on 01282 433241. 


Header Image - Furlough

COVID-19 – Furlough Scheme Update

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

With COVID-19 cases still on the rise across the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as furlough), until the end of April 2021. The CJRS is a scheme which was put in place during the first national lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19, and it sees the Government contribute 80% towards an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. 

The move to extend furlough until the end of April will allow businesses the opportunity to fully assess their circumstances and make decisions relating to employment well ahead of the 45-day redundancy notice period. 

Who is eligible? 

In light of this recent announcement, employment guidance has now been updated by the HMRC to state that employers can choose to furlough employees whose health has been affected by COVID-19 or any other conditions or extenuating circumstances, including if they are unable to work from home. 

HMRC’s guidance also states that employers may place employees on furlough, or on a flexible, part-time working pattern supported by the furlough scheme, if they: 

  • Are clinically extremely vulnerable, or are considered to be at high risk of suffering severe symptoms should they contract the virus 
  • Have care responsibilities resulting from COVID-19, such as having to care for children who are at home due to the closure of schools and childcare facilities 
  • Have care responsibilities for a vulnerable individual in their household 


What is flexible furlough? 

Flexible furlough allows employees to return to work on a part-time basis, so that they would receive full pay for the hours they choose to work, with the Government continuing to pay 80% of their wage for the hours they do not work. 

Under a flexible furlough arrangement, the hours and shift patterns to be worked are to be decided between the employer and the employee. 


What support is there for business owners? 

Many of the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes which have been in place since furlough was first introduced have also had their deadlines extended, with some new schemes being introduced in light of the changing restrictions. These schemes include: 

  • The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), which offers businesses who have been required to close due to national restrictions as of 5th January 2021 offered a one-off grant of up to £9,000. This includes businesses in the entertainment sector.  
  • The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), which offers support to businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, or where additional funding is needed. 
  • The Christmas Support Payment (CSP), which provides a supporting grant of up to £1,000 to assist wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. 


For further information, guidance and advice relating to Employment Law, please contact our offices in 01282 433241, and a member of our team will be happy to assist you. 


Making a Personal Injury Claim

This entry was posted in For you, Medical Negligence on by .

If you’re suffering with an injury following an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be considering pursuing legal action against those responsible by making a personal injury claim. 

For many, the idea of making a claim for compensation can be daunting, but whilst winning compensation may not be a top priority, it can help you to get your life back on track. 

We’ve outlined our top tips for making a personal injury claim below, covering some of the key elements and highlighting some parts of the process that many aren’t aware of, to ensure you’re fully informed and prepared for the claims process. 


Seek immediate medical attention 

You should endeavour to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Firstly, because some injuries can be worse than they initially seem to be, and a registered medical professional will be able to identify exactly what the issue is to ensure you receive the correct treatment, and secondly, so that you have an official record of your injury to help with your personal injury claim. 


Make a report

Whether the accident has occurred in the workplace or in a public space, it’s important that the incident is reported to the relevant people, and that a record of the incident is filed. 

If the incident involved a road traffic accident, you should make a report with the police. 


Gather evidence for your claim 

Evidence can be provided in a number of different ways. Photographs taken of the location at the time of the accident can help to show the circumstances which contributed to its cause, and help to identify any areas of negligence or wrongdoing. 

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, photographs of the vehicles involved can also help in the claims process when it comes to assessing damages. 

You might also wish to make a note of any witnesses to the accident, in case witness statements are required at any point during the process. 


Record any expenses 

It’s a good idea to record any expenses associated with the accident, including receipts for prescription costs, travelling, or any specialist care you have had to seek as a result of your injury. 

You may also be able to claim for a loss of income if you have had to take time off work for medical appointments, or if you have found yourself unable to work due to your injury, so a note from an employer may also be of use. 


Some frequently asked questions: 

How much time do I have to make a personal injury claim? 

For clients seeking compensation in England, Scotland and Wales, a claim must be made within three years of the date of the accident. 

Will I have to go to court in order to receive my personal injury compensation? 

It is very unlikely that you will be required to appear in court in order to receive your personal injury compensation. 

In some exceptional circumstances, for example where there is a dispute, you may be required to attend court. In such a case, your DRN solicitor will provide you with comprehensive legal advice and guidance to ensure you are fully informed and prepared. 


How can DRN help? 

DRN Solicitors can help you to seek justice and financial recompense for any form of personal injury, whether your accident has occurred in the workplace or in a public space. 

With an approachable team of legal experts, each with extensive experience in seeking personal injury compensation, DRN are here to help. 

If you have suffered as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our team today on 01282 433241 and allow us to help you take the first step in pursuing your personal injury claim. 


COVID-19 – Beyond Furlough: Rishi Sunak’s Job Support Scheme

This entry was posted in Business Law, Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme set to end in October, the Government have been met with anxieties in recent weeks regarding an expected rise in job losses.

Speaking from the House of Commons earlier this week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced plans to launch a new support package designed to prevent the country from facing mass unemployment figures as we now move into the winter months. 

What is the new Job Support Scheme? 

Unveiled as part of the Government’s winter economy plan, the new Job Support Scheme will see the Government make contributions towards the wages of employees who are working fewer hours than they normally would as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Within this scheme, employers will continue to pay staff their usual wages for the hours they work, and for hours not worked, their wages will be topped up with a one-third contribution from the Government and a one-third contribution from the employer.


Am I eligible for the Job Support Scheme? 

In order to qualify for financial support through the Job Support Scheme, an employee must not be on a redundancy notice. This clause has been designed to encourage companies to retain as many members of staff as possible in a bid to protect jobs as much as possible. 

For the first three months of the scheme (November 2020 – January 2021), eligible employees will be required to work at least 33% of their normal contracted hours. It has also been announced that the Government will make plans to review whether to increase the threshold after the initial 3-month period. 


Offering a degree of flexibility to staff and business owners, employees will be able to “cycle on and off” the scheme, and they will not be required to work the same patterns each month. 

The scheme will be open to all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and employers will need to have a UK bank account and be part of PAYE. Some large businesses may qualify for support, however they will need to be able to show the adverse effects of COVID-19 upon profits, with at least a one-third drop in turnover due to the pandemic. 


How much should employees expect to receive? 

Employees will be paid by their employer for every hour worked as normal. For every hour not worked, their wage will be topped up with a one-third contribution from the employer, and a one-third contribution from the Government (capped at £697.92 per month – much lower than the £2,500 cap on the original furlough scheme). 


With employees being required to work at least one third of their standard contracted hours, the Job Support Scheme will cover wages for a maximum of 66.6% of hours not worked, therefore the government contribution covers up to 22% of full pay

As a result, taking into account the pay received for hours worked, as well as state and company subsidised wages for down time, employees signed onto the scheme will receive at least 77% of their usual pay (unless affected by the Government cap of £697.92). 

If an employee is able to work 33% of their normal working hours, the Government grant would therefore amount to 22%, and the employer contribution would be 55%. 


When will the scheme begin? 

The new Job Support Scheme will be launching on 1st November 2020, and is set to run for six months. 


For reliable employment advice and professional HR support, contact our offices today on 01282 433241 and a member of our team will be happy to assist you. 

How to Handle Staff Redundancies

This entry was posted in Business Law, Employment Law, For Business, For you on by .

The question of whether or not to implement staff redundancies can be a difficult and daunting decision to make, but one which is occasionally necessary to help ensure the longevity of your business. Many businesses have found themselves impacted by COVID-19 and the national lockdown in recent months, and as a result we are now seeing an increase in the number of redundancies being made across all sectors nationwide.

Redundancy is a rather complex area of employment law, and as such it is important to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of the full process before making any decisions.


What is a fair redundancy process?

When it comes to successfully handling staff redundancies, ensuring fairness in your approach is key.

A fair redundancy process will involve:

  • Considering alternative employment options
  • Providing adequate warning to all employees that redundancies are going to be made within the business
  • Creating a fair, non-discriminatory set of scoring criteria
  • Keeping your employees up to date throughout the process


When is it appropriate to make a member of staff redundant?

Business owners will often consider redundancy if the company plans to downsize, including if a certain area of the company is due to close completely, or if the demand in any one area or across the board has been steadily decreasing, resulting in less work being available for the employees in any particular/all department(s).

It’s important to remember that redundancy should not be used as an alternative for dismissal. If an employee’s performance is lacking, if they have a poor record of attendance, or if they have committed misconduct, employers should seek to handle the dismissal in according with the particular procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook, and not approach the situation as though it were a redundancy.


The dedicated HR/Employment Law team at DRN are on hand to provide further guidance. Please contact the team on 01282 433241 with any questions or queries.


Unfair redundancy selection criteria

It would be deemed discriminatory if an employer should select an employee for redundancy based on any of the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy, including any reasons relating to maternity
  • Family, including parental or paternity leave, adoption leave or time off for dependents
  • Acting as an employee representative
  • Acting as a trade union representative
  • Joining or not joining a trade union
  • Being a part-time or fixed-term employee
  • Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation
  • Pay and working hours, including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage


Is redundancy the best/only option?

Redundancy should always be the last resort. As redundancies are issued due to a need for the company to reduce its costs, business owners are advised to explore all other options before initiating redundancy measures. This may include restricting overtime, imposing a recruitment freeze, or temporarily withdrawing non-contractual benefits.

You may also wish to seek advice on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which was implemented by the Government upon the outbreak of COVID-19 and may offer some additional support so that you can avoid any job losses.


Consulting employees

Employee consultation is a vital part of the fair redundancy process. Failing to consult your employees in a redundancy situation will most likely mean any redundancies you make will be deemed unfair, which could lead to involvement in an employment tribunal.

Whilst there are no specific consultation rules in place for a small-scale redundancy process, it is good practice to fully consult all of your employees if you intend to make redundancies in your business, as if you don’t, an employment tribunal could decide that you’ve dismissed your staff unfairly.


When making 20 or more redundancies within a 90-day period, you will need to follow ‘collective consultation’ rules, which are as follows:

  • You’ll need to notify the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) before consultation begins. The deadline for this will depend on the number of redundancies you intend to make.
  • You will also need to consult with any trade union representatives or elected employee representatives. If there are none, you will need to consult with staff directly.
  • At this stage, you’ll need to provide all necessary information to representatives or staff about the planned redundancies, and you will need to allow enough time for the information to be thoroughly digested and considered.
  • You must respond to any requests for further information within a timely manner.
  • Once the information has been considered by representatives or staff, you may then issue termination notices to the affected staff, informing them of an agreed leaving date.
  • Redundancy notices may be issued once the consultation process is complete.


Whilst there is no time limit on how long consultations may last, a minimum period is in place:

  • For 20 to 99 proposed redundancies, you must complete a minimum consultation period of 30 days before dismissal can be issued
  • For 100 or more proposed redundancies, you must complete a minimum consultation period of 45 days before dismissal can be issued


Statutory redundancy pay – what you need to know

An employee will be eligible for statutory redundancy pay if they have worked under a contract of employment for at least two years.


The amount they are entitled to will be dependent upon the employee’s age and the length of time they have worked within the company. As it currently stands, employees who have been made redundant are entitled to receive:

  • half a week’s pay for each full year of employment (if below the age of 22)
  • a week’s pay for each full year of employment (if aged between 22 and 40)
  • 5 weeks’ pay for each full year of employment (if aged 41 or above)


This entitlement is currently capped at £538 per week, with a maximum length of service being 20 years. This means the maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay an employee can receive is £16,140, although the law allows employees to give staff extra redundancy pay if they so wish.


Key things to remember

The decision of whether or not to initiate redundancy measures should not be taken lightly, and there are a number of key things to remember when it comes to handling staff redundancies fairly:

  • There are different procedures in place for those needing to make small-scale redundancies as opposed to collective redundancies (20 redundancies or more in a 90-day period)
  • Any employee who will have two years of service within the company by their termination date, and who is working their notice for redundancy, is entitled to reasonable time off work to look for another job.


Looking for further advice?

Being a complex area of employment law, redundancy can be a stressful and confusing time for all involved. Contact our team of HR and employment law specialists today for professional support, advice and guidance on how to carry out a fair redundancy process, and eliminate the risk of any claims arising due to mishandled procedures.


Making a Medical Negligence Claim

This entry was posted in For you, Medical Negligence on by .

If you’ve been injured or harmed as a result of negligent medical treatment provided by a healthcare professional, whether that be because of a misdiagnosis, or as a victim of incorrect treatment or errors in surgery, you could be entitled to receive compensation.


Medical negligence – what can I claim for?

Medical negligence can take many forms, and may involve errors made in the diagnosis or in the treatment stage when seeking help for a medical complaint.

Errors in diagnosis can include:

  • Mistakes made when noting a patient’s history
  • Failure to properly examine a patient, or failure to properly record their symptoms
  • Failure to complete the appropriate investigations into a health complaint (including x-rays, scans and blood tests)
  • Misinterpreting the results of a test
  • Failure to admit patients when necessary (or sending a patient home prematurely)

Errors in treatment can include:

  • Providing an incorrect treatment (usually associated with a misdiagnosis)
  • Failure to note and act upon a patient’s condition when their health is deteriorating
  • Failure to operate when necessary
  • Errors or mistakes made during surgery
  • Providing inadequate care, or treatment advice which is inappropriate for the patient’s circumstances, after surgery
  • Patient neglect


Who can I claim against?

At DRN, our team of solicitors have decades of experience in pursuing claims for those who have suffered at the hands of:

  • NHS staff
  • Private practice staff
  • GP practice staff
  • Dental practice staff
  • Pharmacy staff
  • Other treatment providers, including physiotherapists and osteopaths


How much time do I have to make a claim?

In general terms, guidelines in England, Scotland and Wales suggest that you should seek to make a claim within three years of the date you first became aware that you had suffered a significant injury or illness due to the negligent actions of a medical professional. However, there are exceptions to this guideline.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim, contact our offices today for further guidance, and a member of our team will be more than happy to assist you.


How can DRN help?

DRN Solicitors can help you to seek justice and financial recompense for any form of medical mistreatment, no matter how complex your case.

With an approachable team of legal experts, proficient in the practice of seeking justice for those who have suffered as a result of medical and clinical negligence, we’re here to help.

We handle every case with the utmost sensitivity and tailor our approach in accordance with the needs of each of our clients.


If you’re considering pursuing a medical negligence claim for injuries you have suffered at the hands of a medical professional, or on behalf of a loved one, contact our team today on 01282 433241 and allow us to help you take the first step.



COVID-19 – Post-lockdown Business Checklist for Employers & Business Owners

This entry was posted in Business Law, Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to a lot of uncertainty for business owners in all sectors. With the situation, and the guidance surrounding it, regularly and rapidly changing, it can be difficult to know what your next best move is to see your business and your employees protected.

DRN’s expert HR and Employment Law solicitors have compiled a checklist of the things you should consider, helping you to protect the company you have built and ensure your business can bounce back now that we’ve begun to see some degree of normality returning.


Crunch the numbers

Try to spend some time analysing your workflow, particularly with consideration to any business that may have been lost back when lockdown was first implemented. Now may be a good time to revisit clients and customers that you were working with and catch up with them – find out how they might have been affected by the pandemic and brainstorm some strategies for how you can work together and see each other benefit.


Plan ahead

Planning ahead is key. Whilst you’re thinking of resuming trade, it’s a good idea to review and examine your company’s cashflow figures. From this, you should try to produce a forecast which is informed by the existing numbers, including a joined-up, interactive profit and loss balance (often referred to as a three-way forecast).


Put your management head on

A level-headed management attitude, backed up with reliable information, will be crucial to producing an effective lockdown exit strategy. As the situation is constantly changing, it’s important that you remain agile in your thinking. Try to stay open-minded when it comes to considering possible new directions and pathways.


Always consider your staff

Be sure to welcome staff back only when it is safe to do so. Staff for whom it may be unsafe to return to the workplace should be allowed to work from home where possible.

Before issuing a return to work, it has been made mandatory for all employers to conduct a risk assessment of the workplace and make the results available to all employees, along with an action plan outlining the safety measures that will be put into place to minimise any risks that have been identified.

For those whose businesses may not immediately be able to return to operate at full capacity, the Government has recently announced that its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be available for furloughed employees until October, so this may offer another option to help you protect staff jobs and livelihoods until the business is back on its feet.


Be resourceful

Whilst the lockdown has been a difficult period for many of us, finding the positives as much as we can has been key to getting us through it. And, even though there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, focussing on the positives and making sure to use all available resources is still a great business attitude to adopt.

The recent pandemic has had an impact on every aspect of our lives – the way we work, eat, sleep, earn money, spend time with our family, shop, exercise and spend our downtime has all changed as a result of COVID-19 and the social distancing guidelines. This may have opened up and left room for new gaps in the market to be explored. It might be that new competitive advantages for your business have been brought to light as a result of recent events – just because we’re slowly but surely seeing a return to normality, it doesn’t mean those opportunities which have recently opened have to close.



Making an investment into your internal and external communication strategy would not be a bad move at this stage. When returning to work, it’s critical that everyone in the business knows what is expected of them, and that the safety parameters within which they should be working are made clear from the offset. As a part of your communication strategy, it’s vital that you consider the return to work guidance which has been published by the Government, conduct a thorough risk assessment for your workplace and apply safety measures and precautions where necessary, and continue to take on board any concerns your team(s) may have.


DRN’s specialist HR and Employment Law team are dedicated to providing sound, reliable business advice that you can trust. For more information surrounding best business practices in the current climate, please contact a member of our team on 01282 433241.  

COVID-19 – Travel Restrictions Easing

This entry was posted in For you, News on by .

Amongst the chaos caused by COVID-19, it’s exciting to see a light at the end of the tunnel as things gradually begin to return to normal. With offices and public spaces such as restaurants, bars, and cafes being allowed to reopen from 4th July with additional safety measures in place, it looks as though the travel and hospitality industries can also start to see things moving once more. But, before you get to booking your next weekend getaway or city stay, there are a few things you should consider…


Safe travelling on public transport – what you need to know

Whilst travelling on public transport has been allowed for a number of weeks now, the Government is still encouraging travellers to use their own vehicle to complete their journey, or to delay their travels as much as possible.

Should you need to complete a journey on public transport, you should be prepared to:

  • Wear a face covering to limit the potential spread of any bacteria from yourself to another traveller, or vice versa.
  • Carry your own hand sanitiser so that you can sanitise your hands after making contact with any surface, such as the railings and handles on a bus or train.
  • Maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and other travellers at all times. Where this is not possible, a distance of one metre should be consistently maintained.
  • Avoid any physical contact with others.
  • Follow any guidelines put into place by the transport service provider you are travelling with, including which seats you are able to use, how to queue, and any physical restrictions such as floor markings, or limits to the number of passengers being allowed to travel.


Can I book a hotel and stay during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Government have announced that hotels and B&Bs in the UK will be allowed to reopen from 4th July. However, they can only do so with strict safety measures in place, and all guests will be required to follow guidelines at all times.

For staff and guests, these will include:

  • Increased cleaning protocols in place throughout the day for all public spaces, such as reception and eating/bar areas, with particular consideration for any shared facilities.
  • Handwashing facilities made readily available throughout the building for guests to use.
  • Ensuring social distancing guidelines are adhered to, with floor markings providing guidance for guests, and all tables spaced at least one meter apart.
  • Offering staggered check-in and check-out times to prevent congestion in the reception area, and thoroughly cleaning room keys between guests. Queuing systems similar to those we’ve seen in supermarkets may also be implemented.
  • Minimising self-serve facilities for guests, including for food, drinks or cutlery, and replacing with table service
  • Minimising the use of cash, and encouraging contactless or online payment where possible.

Amongst the recent changes, some guidelines have remained the same, including the closure of indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, pools and spas until further notice.


Holidays abroad – where can I travel to?

As of Friday 3rd July, the Government has announced a list of countries which have been given the green light for travel, allowing people to travel freely between them from 10th July without facing a 14-day quarantine.

Amongst the 59 countries that have been given the green light for travel are popular holiday destinations such as:

  • Greece
  • Cyprus
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Spain
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Turkey
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Jamaica
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan

There remain to be a number of countries where travel is deemed to be high risk and is therefore restricted from the UK. These include:

  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Portugal
  • India
  • China
  • United States of America

How to Protect Yourself Against Building Disputes

This entry was posted in Business Law, For Business, For you, Property on by .

With social distancing restrictions now gradually easing, we’re expecting to see many people begin their return to work in the coming weeks. As the housing market is steadily reopening following the Coronavirus lockdown here in the UK, amongst those returning to work will be builders and contractors, with many homeowners having had plenty of time during lockdown to make plans for potential expansion to their property.

When it comes to running a successful construction business, reputation is everything. It’s a sad and unfortunate truth that some clients will take advantage of this fact, opening building disputes where there are no grounds for complaint in an attempt to shave pounds off the cost of their remodel, and causing detriment to your reputation in the process.

On the other hand, one only need pay attention to the news shared by Crime Watch to realise that there are a host of “cowboy builders” in operation around the UK, promising homeowners work that they have no possible chance of delivering, overcharging clients and completing work to a substandard level, or not completing the work at all.

For these reasons, it’s equally important for homeowners and contractors to know how to protect themselves against building disputes. Here are our top tips:


Write a contract

Before any work is carried out, it’s important that the terms agreed upon between client and contractor are set out in writing. This not only helps to prevent errors in communication, but also provides protection for both parties by preventing the likelihood of any disagreements arising. Should disagreements arise, your contract should always be the first place you turn.

A building contract will usually include a brief outline of the work that is to take place, along with an estimate of how long the work is expected to take, and the cost associated with completing the job. Be sure to read over your contract thoroughly to ensure you’re fully aware of the terms you are agreeing to prior to signing.


Be honest

When entering into any agreement, it’s important for both parties to be honest with one another. If you’re a homeowner who needs construction work to be completed by a certain date, be sure to make your contractor aware. Likewise, as a contractor, it is your legal obligation to complete any construction works within a reasonable amount of time and for a reasonable price. However, if a client’s desired deadline cannot be met, you need to make this clear, and provide an estimate for a date it is possible for you to complete the work by. Agreeing a completion date that you know is unachievable not only puts unnecessary pressure on you and your staff, but it will also leave you vulnerable to facing a dispute should your client be upset when the work is not finished by the time they expected it to be.


Get insured

When working in a hazardous environment such as a construction site, having a comprehensive insurance package in place is key. All contractors should have public liability insurance, which covers injury to a third party (such as a passing pedestrian, or to the homeowner themselves). In addition, you might consider investing employers’ liability insurance or contractors’ all-risk cover. Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement for limited companies, and will cover any employee who may suffer an injury whilst working onsite. Contractors’ all-risk cover provides insurance for all works carried out, and provides protection for both parties should the works be accidentally destroyed before completion, or before the homeowner’s policy is extended to cover it. Whilst it is legal to work without employers’ liability insurance and contractors’ all-risk cover policies in place, doing so can potentially put the homeowners at risk of having to foot the bill should anything go wrong.

As a homeowner, you might wish to consider investing in site insurance or contracts work insurance, which you can take out in your own name, or as a joint policy with your contractor. This provides an additional barrier of protection and ensures you are covered for any eventuality.


How to resolve a building dispute

Should you be involved in raising or defending yourself against a building dispute, our expert litigation team are here to help. We have years of experience in dealing with matters of this nature, and can provide sound advice on the best way for you to seek a resolution to your dispute, whether that be through negotiation or mediation.


Need our help? Contact the team today on 01282 433241. 

COVID-19 Furlough Scheme – Further Updates Announced

This entry was posted in Employment Law, For Business, For you, News on by .

Following the latest announcement made by Rishi Sunak on Friday 29th May, several updates have been provided regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will see a number of changes come into effect from 1st August 2020.


What is the deadline for furloughing an employee?

The new deadline for enrolling employees onto the furlough scheme is now set as 10th June 2020. Whilst the scheme will continue to provide support for those who are temporarily unable to work, employers will not be able furlough or re-furlough an employee after this date.


Will the furlough scheme support an employee’s return to work on a part-time basis?  

Yes, the latest changes outlined will now make it possible for employees to return to work on a part-time basis whilst still being able to receive support from the scheme, and this will be allowed from July (instead of August, as previously announced). Employers will be required to pay 100% of an employee’s wage for the hours worked should this be the case.


How will I be expected to contribute towards the scheme, and when?

Whilst the Government have previously announced that, at some stage, employers will be required to contribute towards the support of their furloughed employees, the specificities around this have remained largely speculative up until this point.

On Friday, Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme will continue to provide support for 80% of an employee’s wage (up to £2,500 monthly), as well as full coverage of National Insurance contributions, until August.

From August, employers will be required to pay National Insurance contributions and pension contributions, whether their employee remains on the furlough scheme full-time or has by that point returned to work on a part-time basis.

From September, the Government will be reducing its support from 80% to cover 70% of an employee’s wage, with employers then required to pay 10% of the employee’s wage. This figure is set to increase to see 20% of wage contributions covered by the employer in October.


When is the furlough scheme set to end?

In his announcement on 29th May, Rishi Sunak made it clear that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) will not be extended beyond the end of October 2020.

Need further advice regarding the furlough scheme? Unsure about your options? Talk to a member of our dedicated HR and Employment Law team today on 01292 433241 and we can provide tailored advice on the best moves to make for your business.