Legal Responsibilities of Employers

Under the law, employers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their workers. This article outlines these responsibilities.

Ensure Your Company Complies with Industry Regulations

As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that your company complies with the applicable regulations for your industry. Although they can differ based on the type of position and the employment arrangement that is in force, the rules form the basis for all workplace care.

Responsibilities to Employees

Your obligations as an employer extend to the wages, operating hours, holiday entitlements, employment and more with the workers. Some of the most important responsibilities you have are as follows:

  • You are required to pay employees at least the national minimum wage
  • Provide a clean and safe working environment for employees
  • Give workers a daily break time of at least 20 minutes when they work more than six hours a day
  • Give at least one weeks’ notice of dismissal if the employee has been in your employ for more than a month but less than two years.
  • Give two weeks’ notice if the person has been in your employ for two years after that, with an extra one week for every year after that.
  • Provide the minimum amount of holidays per year depending on employment type (full or part-time)
  • Offer sick pay, maternity/paternity leave and at least statutory maternity pay, and paternity pay.
  • Use also use warning signs, labels or colour codes to warn employees about potential hazards.
  • If there is an injury, you must report it and keep detailed records of the accidents.
  • Provide training on health and safety to employees.
  • Provide your employees with employment contracts that outline their rights and responsibilities and employee of yours

Health and Safety at Work

Employers are responsible for the management of health and safety at work. They must also ensure the safety of people who are not working, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Employers are to provide adequate accommodation that enables disabled employees to carry out their work. Health and safety training in the workplace is vital for ensuring that all of your employees are knowledgeable about what to do if a health and safety concern arises. 

What to do if Your Employees Have Concerns

Do your employees have concerns about health and safety at work? The first thing they need to do is to go to you, their employer, and discuss their concerns. If your company has a health and safety representative, they can also first discuss their concerns with him or her. Make sure that they know this.

If you ignore their concerns, they are entitled to file a report with the appropriate authorities, as a last resort. It is best that you try to address their concerns from the start, listen carefully and weigh up their arguments fairly and openly.

Beyond legislation for health and safety, all employers have a duty under what is known as ‘common law’ to provide protection for their employees. Be sure to stay informed as to all these requirements.