Retail Employment Law Update | reducing hours, redundancies and apprenticeship rules

From reducing employees’ contractual hours to managing redundancy situations, utilising apprenticeships and dealing with inevitable day-to-day issues such as disciplinary and absence management, join WorkNest’s legal expert, Laura Williams, and Bira CEO, Andrew Goodacre, as they tackle the employment law and HR challenges we know to be impacting the retail sector right now.

20 April at 2.00 pm

During this informative one-hour session, WorkNest’s Head of Team and Solicitor Laura Williams and special guest, Bira Chief Executive Andrew Goodacre, will address all of the key employment issues impacting retailers right now, including questions such as:

  • What options do employers have for reducing employees’ contractual hours, and are there any viable alternatives?
  • What are the key steps of a fair and legal redundancy process, and how can employers minimise legal risks?
  • What challenges and legal considerations do employers need to be aware of when taking on apprentices?
  • What other employee issues are retailers facing right now, and how can they overcome them?

Have a question?

Submit it via the registration form so that Laura and Andrew can review it in advance – we’ll aim to answer as many as possible live during the session.

For retailers, reducing staff hours can be an effective cost-cutting strategy when faced with the need to reduce overheads. With some small businesses struggling to stay profitable – as sales decline while the costs of goods, energy, transport and staff rise – such contractual changes may become necessary to keep your business afloat.

But as well as being a solution, cutting employees’ hours can create issues, particularly given many people’s current money worries. Making a temporary or permanent reduction to an employee’s working hours is possible, but it must be done carefully to avoid legal issues and disputes. What’s more, given the ongoing challenges many retailers are facing when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, a careful approach is even more essential in order to avoid losing valuable staff.

Sadly, reducing hours may not be enough. With retailers facing mounting financial pressures, it’s also expected that employers may continue to reduce their headcounts.

As well as being an unpleasant task, carrying out redundancies can be legally risky. Failure to follow the correct legal procedures could result in claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination, which can be costly in terms of time, money, and reputation. It’s therefore crucial that retailers understand what the legislation requires so that they can protect their business and make the process as painless as possible.

But while some businesses may be forced to make downsizing decisions, others may seek to invest in their workforce for the long-term through apprenticeships. By offering apprenticeships, staff can gain experience in the workplace while also working towards a qualification. As well as becoming valuable assets to your business for years to come, apprentices can be a cost-effective staffing solution – but it’s important to make sure you have appropriate contracts in place as apprentices benefit from additional protections that can make ending the employment relationship tricky.

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