Starting Up

BPE has built a reputation for working with start up businesses and supporting them throughout their growth. From deciding whether to be a limited company or a sole trader to recruiting the right staff for your business and making sure your business is fully protected, we can help.

Recruiting Staff

Should I employ staff?

Employing staff is a big decision. With it comes many legal obligations such as paying tax and national insurance, providing holiday, paying the national minimum wage and dealing with grievances and disciplinary issues which could result in Tribunal claims.

To begin with, appointing agency workers or self employed individuals may be the best option.

We can help you decide what type of person you should take on for your business.

Agency, self employed or employee which is best for my business?

If you need flexibility or extra help on a large project, employing agency or contractor staff (instead of employees) might be useful when first setting up your business. Hiring self employed people instead of employing staff does however have implications for tax and workplace rights.

Neither contractors nor subcontractors would normally be considered as an employee. However, it is still possible that under the law they may actually be considered to be employed by you. 

If a member of staff is found to be an employee, they will have much more extensive employment rights including the right to claim unfair dismissal, sick pay, holiday pay, the right to maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay, the right to a statement of employment terms and to a minimum period of notice to terminate their employment. This could end up costing your business a great deal of money.

We can help you put in place documentation and practices that minimise the risk of a worker claiming they are a employee, rather than self-employed or an agency worker.

Employment agreements

We regularly help clients negotiate and draft Service Agreements for staff at all levels.

We can produce documents tailored to your business' specific needs, for instance, addressing incentive schemes or protecting intellectual property rights. From contractual entitlements to dealing with shares, from enforcing restrictive covenants to negotiating the terms of exit announcements, we can take care of every angle for you.

Recruiting staff effectively

From ensuring your initial advert complies with the law, writing job descriptions, planning a well thought out interview to offer of employment, we can guide you through the whole process.

When advertising for staff, you'll need to decide whether you want to employ full or part-time staff, and whether to offer permanent or fixed-term contracts. You could also consider whether agency workers or freelancers might be better options for certain positions.

If you are going to use information gathered during recruitment processes for other purposes, you must explain this clearly to those involved and if you're going to check the information supplied by applicants, you should let them know why and how you plan to do so.

You're also obliged to give employees an employment statement setting out certain basic information you are required by law to provide such as amount of paid holiday, job description, notice period and salary etc. This must be given no later than 2 months after they begin working for you.

Interviewing staff

An interview is a key part of your recruitment process. If you don't get the right employee, the reputation and financial implications for your business can be serious. We can give you advice on the types of questions to ask to ensure you recruit effectively.

Employing someone with restrictive covenants

If you wish to employ someone with restrictive covenants from previous employment, early advice is advisable. You don't want to be threatened with injunction or damages proceedings for inducing your employee to breach their last employer's contract of employment.

We can advise you on the risks involved in taking on an employee whose activities are restricted for a period after they leave their previous employer. We can also advise you on how to defend injunction/damages proceedings issued against you.

Directors & Duties

There are certain rules and regulations you must comply with when you become a company director. All limited companies must be registered with Companies House and directors must follow the Company's articles of association (rules about how the company is run) and Memorandum of Association - a legal statement signed by all initial shareholders as well as the Company's Act 2006 and related legislation.

Our Corporate team can talk you through the do's and don'ts of setting up a Limited Company and the various obligations that company directors must adhere to.

How do I structure my management team?

As well as properly incentivising your management team, you also need to consider issues such as whether your recruitment process is fit for purpose and, once you've recruited your team, what your reporting lines should look like.

Staff data protection

The Data Protection Act controls how information about staff is used by organisations, businesses or the government. As an employer you must collect, use and store personal information about staff properly.

The four key areas of data responsibility for businesses relate to:

  1. recruitment and selection;
  2. employment records;
  3. monitoring of staff at work (including by means of electronic communications);
  4. medical information.

 Our employment law team regularly advise businesses on how to comply with their data protection responsibilities and defend claims that they have breached those responsibilities (normally from staff).