What Is HR Employment Law?

Most things in life come with a rulebook that must be followed, and HR is no exception. HR, short for Human Resources, is a department that must operate within a framework of regulations to ensure the smooth sailing of an organisation.

Responsible for managing employees, HR oversees various operations including recruitment, training, payroll, legal compliance, and workplace safety. Acting as intermediaries between employees and employers, HR professionals ensure a harmonious relationship, supported by laws designed to safeguard both parties’ interests.

Employment laws are what can foster this contented and compliant workplace environment. Curious to know more? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Employment Law?

HR employment law is, in itself, a vast subject. But to strip it down to the basics, employment law is essentially a body of laws and regulations that govern the rights of everybody who works relevant in all working relationships.

These rights will change according to your employment status, primarily if you’re an employee, worker, or employer. Self-employed people are also entitled to employment law, though individuals in this bracket have the least protection.

Most of these rights are compulsory by law and cover various aspects of employment, including recruitment, working conditions, wages, benefits, termination, and workplace rights.

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Why Is Employment Law Important?

To understand how important it is for HR to properly implement employment law, just envision the following scenario: Picture a world where employers have unchecked authority over employees and where there are no repercussions for their actions.

Essentially, this would be a world devoid of legal safeguards for employees.

One can quickly understand from this scenario just how important employment law is and, subsequently, the significant responsibility that falls on the HR department to adhere to and implement it.

How Does HR Deal With Employment Law?

HR typically shoulders the responsibility of implementing employment law within organisations. Of course, it’s important to note that not all organisations will have a dedicated HR department, particularly in the case of startups and smaller organisations, necessitating someone to assume this duty.

Employment law is also enforced by legal professionals, and anybody who works must gain a good understanding of their employment status so they can understand their rights. However, employment law and its compliance in the workplace is generally a responsibility that falls under the umbrella of HR duties.

As employment law is such a vast subject, let’s examine some key examples of how HR may deal with employment law within an organisation:

HR may, for instance, ensure an organisation is complying with regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment contracts, including hours of work, holiday entitlement, and notice periods.

They may also ensure laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or beliefs are being consistently kept, while also ensuring workplace safety measures are upheld for a secure work environment.

HR will likely oversee an organisation’s compliance with minimum wage regulations and monitor adherence to guidelines on maximum working hours, rest breaks, and annual leave.

HR will also manage proper procedures for employees facing redundancy or dismissal, facilitate maternity and paternity leave, and clarify laws regarding employees’ rights to join trade unions.

Throughout all of this, it is the job of HR professionals to stay on top of changes and updates to employment law to ensure that their organisations remain compliant and consistently treat employees fairly and legally.

To make all this a little easier, many HR professionals rely on software to ease the burden and streamline their tasks. Companies that offer effective HR software include:

  1. Rippling
  2. Deel
  3. BrightHR

Employment Law In The UK

Now we have a clear understanding of what employment law is, HR’s role in implementing it and why this is so important, it’s time to delve into the specifics of employment law in the UK.

In the UK, employment law serves as a cornerstone of our organisational structure. The Employment Rights Act of 1996 is what provides the fundamental framework for most of the rights and protections that govern our workplaces today.

Section 230 of this Act defines an employee’s place in the legislation, offering a straightforward definition that anyone uncertain about their status can refer to.

You may be thinking, “1996, that seems like a while ago – shouldn’t employment law evolve to keep pace with changing times?” And indeed, it should.

Thankfully, employment law does. While upholding the standards established by the Employment Rights Act of 1996, the courts ensure that flexibility is built into the system, allowing employment law to adapt to contemporary work practices.

As a result, employment law remains current and relevant, even as the UK’s work landscape and HR duties evolve, ensuring the safety, support, and security of workers everywhere.