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Legislation and Human Resources

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Legislation and Human Resources

  1. 1. LEGISLATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION • Governments often pass legislation to protect people at work. Without such protection some businesses would exploit their workers. For example, they might pau low wages, make them work long hours, deny them employment rights, discriminate against certain groups and dismiss them unfairly. In addition to providing a healthy and safe working environment businesses have other legal obligations. Contract of employment • Workers are entitled to a contract of employment. This is a legally blinding agreement between the employer and the employee. It is likely to contain details such as the start date, terms of employment, job title and duties, place and hours of work, pay and holyday entitlement, pension and sickness absence, termination conditions and details relating to disciplinary, dismissal and grievances procedures. Discrimination • Businesses have to make a choice when recruiting staff or selecting employees for promotion or training. Choosing one person rather than another is known as discrimination. If a business chooses a person because they are more experienced and better qualified than another, this would be legal. However, it is illegal in most countries to discriminate on grounds of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or age. When employing and promoting people, employers must base their decisions on the ability of candidates, and not whether they are male or female, for example. Many countries have legislation to protect groups from discrimination. • Businesses can suffer if they are seen to discriminate. They may:  Be involved in expensive legal battles.  Fail to recruit or promote the best staff for the post.  De-motivate certain sections of the workforce.  Create unnecessary tension or conflict between employees. Unfair dismissal • Sometimes workers are dismissed unfairly. For instance, if workers are dismissed for joining a trade union or because they are considered too old or because they try to exercise their legal rights, they may have grounds to claim unfair dismissal. If an employment tribunal finds that a worker has been unfairly dismissed, it has the power to reinstate that worker. HEALTH AND SAFETY WORK • In many occupations the workplace can be a dangerous environment. Because of the danger to employees in all businesses, governments aim to protect workers by passing legislation which forces businesses to provide a safe and healthy workplace. • These facilities involve:
  2. 2. – Providing and maintaining adequate safety equipment and protective clothing such as fire extinguishers, protective overalls, hard hats, ear plugs and safety goggles. – Ensuring workers have enough space to do their jobs. – Guaranteeing a hygienic environment with adequate toilet and washing facilities. – Maintaining workplace temperatures and reasonable noise levels. – Providing protection from hazardous substances. – Providing protection from violence bullying threats and stress in the workplace. – Providing adequate breaks for rest. • In many countries legislation exists to protect people at work. For example, in UK the Health and Safety at Work Act was passed in 1974. This requires businesses to prepare a written statement of their general policy on health and safety. • Businesses also have to provide training, information, instruction and supervision to ensure the health and safety workers. Many businesses also follow codes of practice to meet health and safety standards at work. Finally, health and safety inspectors have the right to enter business premises to ensure that health and safety measures are in place and are being carried out by businesses and employees. OTHER LEGISLATION • A range of employment legislation gives workers other rights, some of which are outlined below: – Maternity and paternity leave when children are born. – Sickness paid during illness. – A legal minimum wage. – The right to join a trade union. – A limit to the number of hours working during a week. – An explanation of the rules of conduct and what will happen if they are broken. KEY TERMS • Contract of employment. A written agreement between an employer and an employee in which each has certain obligations. • Discrimination. Favouring one person over another. For example, in the EU it is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of race, gender, age and disability. • Employment tribunal. A court which deals with cases involving disputes between employers and employees. • Unfair dismissal. Where a worker is dismissed illegally by a business.

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