The legalities of running a business can be time consuming, expensive and stressful, especially for smaller sized businesses who generally have limited in-house legal and human resource support and budgets. It can be difficult to find the right advice at the right price at the right time when a legal problem arises unexpectedly. And keeping up to date with legislation can be a real challenge. Laws covering unfair dismissal, redundancy, minimum notice periods, equal pay, and equal opportunities are all examples of legislation which is amended periodically.
Recognising the complexity of the modern workplace and the legislative and financial obligations that organisations must fulfil, an integrated legal support service for employers which aims to prevent minor problems becoming major issues is one possible solution. Updates offering a regular source of reference for organisations would be very welcome support for smaller employers who have to deal with areas such as business start-up, e-commerce, H&S, property, employee health management, debts and debt recovery, employment, intellectual property, purchase and sales agreements, tax and VAT as well as running the business.
Recognising that legislation can be a mine field for small businesses, Canada Life offers legal support for employers as part of its Group Income Protection policy called BusinessCare. A comprehensive online law guide and ‘interactive’ document library, in which law is explained in practical terms and each topic linked to the relevant interactive legal documents, makes running a business easier for employers. A 24/7 telephone helpline provides an opportunity to check a legal position before committing to a course of action and helps to identify those matters in which it is appropriate to employ a solicitor. The helpline also covers general business advice, employment, employee health management, health & safety (H&S), tax and VAT and much more. This means that employers are effectively offered the equivalent of an in-house legal and HR department – but at the end of the phone.
Employers can create all the documents they need quickly and simply, from employment agreements to H&S compliance review and policy creation, as well as ensuring they are fully compliant. All of the documents created from the BusinessCare website can be checked by the legal team without charge, potentially saving time and money in legal fees. Plus, employers can ask the legal team questions when sending documents for legal review.
Support of this sort should be considered, particularly by smaller companies, when selecting a provider for their employee benefits. When considered alongside employee helplines (like EAPs and bereavement/probate counselling) the savings could be very significant.