Employment law - things you need to know
It can be a daunting task for churches, mission agencies and Christian charities to keep up-to-date with their responsibilities as an employer, as well as keeping abreast of employment law and HR issues that they need to be aware of in their particular context. This page offers links to articles, webpages and blogs to help negotiate this maze.
1. Mark Mason articles
Mark is an employment lawyer and network associate of Global Connections. Mark advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment law and human resources practice and represents Claimants and Respondents in Employment Tribunal proceedings. Mark is experienced in advising churches and mission agencies on employment law and HR in their particular context.
Mark writes occasional articles for Christian Vocations on some of the topics that he is most commonly asked to advise on by churches and mission agencies. All these articles are available to download, and so far cover the following areas:
- How should we go about recruitment and selection? - the law does not specify the method by which employers must recruit staff. What the law does require is that employers do not discriminate in their recruitment practices. So, what does that mean for employers and, in particular, employers with a religious ethos?
- There is no such thing as an intern - there is no legally recognised employment status of “intern” and so organisations offering internships need to be clear on which of the legally recognised statuses applies to the particular arrangement that is being put in place.
- Reflecting your Christian ethos in your HR documents - would someone know that your organisation has a Christian ethos from reading your HR documents? This short article gives some general ideas for how to do so.
- The Equality Act – Occupational Requirement - what are the circumstances where a church, mission agency or Christian charity can legitimately assert in a recruitment exercise that the post-holder must be a Christian?
2. Other helpful links
Recruitment and selection
- Recruitment – key points - a really helpful general introductory webpage from Acas.
- Recruiting Staff - this downloadable Acas guide is aimed at employers looking to handle recruitment themselves, and goes through the stages of hiring a new employee up until their first day.
- Recruitment: an overview - the recruitment process involves working through a series of stages: defining the role, attracting applications, managing the application and selection process, and making the appointment. This helpful factsheet from CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development) covers all these areas.
- Hiring staff – free downloadable Acas documents to help in hiring staff, from sample job descriptions and person specifications, to application forms and more.
- 6 things you can't ask in a job interview - blog post from Ellis Whitam highlighting 6 key areas where employers are particularly vulnerable to violating equality laws when they interview candidates.
- Job Ads - what not to say - the biggest danger employers face when drafting job adverts is falling foul of discrimination law. What can you say and what can’t you say?
Volunteers and interns
The legal aspects:
- There is no such thing as an intern - a helpful introduction from Mark Mason, employment lawyer, to the whole area of volunteers, interns and worker status.
- National minimum wage: work experience and internships - UK Government guidance, including a link to a 'worker checklist' to help you decide whether the arrangement the intern/volunteer has with you makes them a 'worker' for NMW purposes.
- National Minimum Wage Act 1998 - information which further clarifies when a person is deemed a 'voluntary worker' and is not entitled to the NMW.
- Volunteers, work experience and internships - Acas advice and guidance.
- HMRC: Voluntary organisations: unpaid office holders - further information about reimbursement of expenses, tax, subsistence and 'scale rates' for volunteers.
Good Practice and other resources:
- Volunteering England Good Practice Bank has an array of resources and services designed to help and support anyone who works with volunteers.
- KnowHowNonProfit has resources to help those who recruit or manage volunteers.
- Volunteer Internships in the Voluntary Sector - review and guidance from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
- Volunteers and the Law - although published in 2005 (by the sadly gone Volunteering England), the law on volunteers and employment rights has not changed, and is the same throughout the UK. This excellent publication is free to download.