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.

Staff issues

Handling changes in staff working arrangements

All employees have a statutory right to ask their employer for a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment provided they have worked for more than 26 weeks continuously at the date the application is made. An employee can only make one statutory request in any 12 month period. This is often known as a flexible working request.

We can support you in writing a policy which clearly explains the procedure staff should take when requesting flexible working. This policy would explain how they make the application, who it should be made to and what should be included. Importantly, this policy should set out clearly what you, as their employer, need to do once you have received that request.

If you don't handle the flexible working request properly, your employee can seek compensation at an Employment Tribunal. You may also be opening yourself up to a claim of sex discrimination if you don't have a good and justifiable business reason for rejecting any flexible working request, for example, from a working mother.

We can advise you on the full impact of these types of requests, how to handle them in everyone's best interests and how to minimise the risk to your business of claim against you.

Insuring your business against employment claims

The best way to insure against employment claims is to follow clear and well thought through HR procedures from the outset. By doing this, your business should reduce the number of employment claims from staff. 

It may also be possible for your business to take out separate insurance cover to protect you against employment law claims. If this is of interest, please contact our employment team for further information.

Protecting your business if an employee is unsuitable

When a key member leaves your team, you want to be sure they don't jeopardise your business. We can help draft post-termination restrictions in employment contracts to protect your interests. Working alongside our Commercial Litigation team, we can let you know how to enforce these restrictions in the most cost-effective way.

We can also act for senior executives who want to understand the scope of their own restrictions, and how to operate safely within them when they move on. Whatever your situation, we understand that issues like these are time critical, so we always act swiftly to move your case forward.

On a more general level, we help businesses draft employment contracts that contain probationary clauses, which help businesses terminate employment quickly and with as little expense as possible if the employment relationship ends shortly after it starts.

If an employee holds shares in your company and leaves then you will want to recover these shares with as little expense as possible, particularly if the employee leaves under a cloud.