If you thought your small business could manage without legal protection, think again.
In recent years there has been a deluge of employment legislation - much of it aimed at protecting the employee. Employment tribunal activity has increased significantly and so too have costs, time, complexity and awards involved.
Employers believe that the existing system for resolving workplace disputes is failing them, with nearly 70 percent saying they have no legal cover against employees making unjustifiable claims to employment tribunals.
Three in five employers have had an unfair dismissal brought against them by a staff member, with many "tagging on" a discrimination claim in the hope of receiving more compensation, according to figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The same survey reveals that 70 percent of employers are using compromise agreements to avoid employee claims. Tribunal costs remain virtually unrecoverable.
At the same time, small businesses have continued to be targeted for investigation by HM Revenue & Customs, so the FSB also offers members tax protection as part of our legal services.
The FSB's Legal Protection Scheme, one of the cornerstones of the membership, offers help, guidance and insurance cover for small businesses faced with defending such claims.
Legal cover: the protection the FSB offers
In partnership with its service provider, Abbey Legal Protection, the FSB Legal Protection Scheme is designed to provide essential business protection to members through a range of professional services.
As a right of membership, services include:
- Access to legal advice from qualified lawyers 24/7 365 days a year.
- Tax advice from Revenue trained specialists.
- Information and documentation on employment law, tax, health and safety and commercial law through the FSB's members-only website: www.fsblegalinfo.org.uk
- The benefit of Legal Protection Insurance for representation in Criminal Prosecutions, Jury Service, Employment Tribunals & Statutory Awards, Tax, VAT & PAYE investigations, Property, Data Protection, Personal Injury & Statutory Licence.
The FSB also offers comprehensive online legal advice covering employment and business law, taxation and health and safety issues.
A comprehensive guide to the FSB's Legal Protection Scheme is available in the Member Guide here
issued to all new members and annually at renewal. Members log in to access the Legal Protection Insurance Policy.
FSB Legal Advice Line 08450 727 727
FSB Tax Advice Line 08450 727 727
FSB Legal Claims 01253 336026
Alison Finnemore from the North Marston Community Shop is a member of the Thames Valley region, insisted the FSB has been of great assistance in advising on employing staff.
She said: "We're very aware that we need to make sure our shop manager is properly looked after and the FSB has been great in supporting that aspect of the business.
"There are a whole variety of other things you need to know as a small business that the FSB has been very helpful with. All the members of staff of the FSB are incredibly helpful – nothing is too much trouble for them to do to help us. It is so nice to know one can just get on the phone and ask.
"It can be a minefield of legislation as a small business and the FSB has been great in that area. I'd thoroughly recommend the FSB to any small business just starting up".