When you’re the owner of a business, everyone who works for that business is your responsibility. Most people know this at least superficially, but an alarming number of people really don’t appreciate the importance of this.

When people are obliged to work for you, especially in a specific location, you are obliged to look after them in turn.

If you don’t fulfill basic requirements and respect essential rights, then you put everything at risk. Your employees will be at risk. You will be at risk. Your entire company may feel severe repercussions if you’re not fulfilling your obligations properly!

Here’s a quick rundown of the three areas in which you should be paying particular attention. This article is not aimed solely at employers; this is an important read for employees, too. After all, you need to understand your rights!

1. Making sure Employees have what they need

Understanding Your Responsibilities as an Employer

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Got a job for someone?

Then you need to make sure they have the tools to do it! Your employees aren’t like contract labour workers who bring their own tools. Sure, they need to bring a certain amount of knowledge, skill and experience to the table. But you need to give them the adequate physical equipment with which to do their job.

Many employees don’t understand how key this requirement is. The keyword here is adequate. Sure, you’ve given them a computer with which to do their duties. But is the computer running smoothly? Is the computer, or your Internet connection, frustratingly slow? You can’t just hand employees tools – you need to hand them good tools!

2. Ensuring the Workplace is Safe

You’re also responsible for the safety of all of your employees. If there are any dangers in the work environment and an employee is injured as a result, that’s on you.

Let’s take a basic example. Maybe there’s a unmarked spillage in the kitchen. If someone slips on that spillage and is injured, that will be classed as the employer’s responsibility. The same thing applies to places like construction sites, if your business isn’t compliant with OSHA.

Everyone should understand the accessibility and implications of accident at work claims. If someone is injured on the job, they have the right to seek compensation or potentially file a lawsuit.

3. Understand Leave Laws

There are three common types of work leave that you need to familiarize yourself with. The most common is, of course, sick leave. Different countries or states will have different laws when it comes to sick leave.

You may be obliged to pay an employee for a limited number of days off due to illness. You should also understand when an employee is obliged to give you a doctor’s note. In the UK, an employee cannot legally be obligated to provide a sick note if they’ve taken less than eight days off of work.

The more complex leave types are those of maternity leave and family leave. Family leave is used to refer to leave given when family responsibilities arise. Generally, this refers to the birth or illness of a child, or the death of a family member or partner. As for maternity leave, most places in the west have laws obligating you to provide paid maternity leave to expectant mothers. In the UK, this can last up to 52 weeks.

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