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Preparing your business for 2022

Written by Clive Rich on Wednesday, 29 December 2021. Posted in HR, Commercial law, Legal, People

Clive Rich of Lawbite offers three tips to help small business owners hit the ground running next year.

Preparing your business for 2022

Clive Rich of Lawbite offers three tips to help small business owners hit the ground running next year. 

As we approach the end of a second successive challenging year, most business owners will be hoping for calmer waters in 2022. But even though there appears to be no end in sight for the ongoing pandemic, there has never been a better time to own or launch an SME.

During 2019, more than 390,000 new businesses were created, bringing the total number of UK SMEs to just over 5.7 million. Furthermore, SMEs provide around 60% of all jobs. And if you are planning to launch a new business soon, or if you’re actually an existing SME owner, then continue reading to discover my three top tips for preparing your business for next year.

Encourage staff to get vaccinated

To prevent disruption to your business, you should encourage your employees to get vaccinated. And, if they are eligible, receive their booster shots too. But beware, as it’s against the law to apply pressure on those who are hesitant about being jabbed. An employee who has a disability is protected under the Equality Act of 2010 and any undue intimidation by an owner would be described as discrimination. 

It is always best to seek advice from a solicitor with specialist employment knowledge to ensure your policies and procedures, with regards to urging staff to get vaccinated, does not fall foul of discrimination laws or other protected rights.

One question many employers will be asking, as the pressure to get vaccinated increases, is whether they can legally introduce a ‘get vaccinated or get dismissed’ policy. At present, there is no case law on this subject. But in taking such an action, you risk an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, which is both time consuming and bad for your business’s reputation.

Check your commercial contracts

Your organisation’s commercial contracts should be regularly reviewed to ensure they are compliant with current legislation. Here are some of the major changes, with regards to employment law, that occurred during 2021:

  • April 6th – IR35 was extended to cover the private sector;
  • April 4th – Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental pay, was increased;
  • May 31st – Workers were given the right not to be subjected to detrimental treatment for leaving, or refusing to return to work, if they believe they were in ‘serious and imminent danger’. Previously, this right only applied to employees;
  • September 21st – The Government announced it would include measures in the next Employment Bill, making it illegal for employers to withhold or make deductions from staff tips;
  • October 27th – Confirmation that the National Living Wage will rise to £9.50 from April 1st, 2022.

The above is a small sample of regulatory changes that may affect your particular market sector. A commercial law solicitor can advise you on whether your contracts remain compliant. They can also draft new clauses to incorporate any legislative updates.

Protect your intellectual property (IP)

In today’s digital world, intellectual property is an important business asset and, as such, must be protected. If you are looking to attract investors in 2022, having a well-organised IP portfolio will work in your favour. From registering trademarks, to applying for a patent to safeguard your innovations, do not underestimate the importance of investing in your IP. This will be a key element to your business success next year.

In summary

Next year will be crucial for the UK economy as it looks to bounce back from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Business owners will continue to face challenges, not least of which will be finding the skilled talent required to drive innovation and growth. Despite this, the UK economy is expected to grow by six percent during 2022. As long as you, the business owner, is well-prepared, then the upcoming year looks set to be a positive one.

About the Author

Clive Rich

Clive Rich

Clive Rich is the CEO and Founder of LawBite, a virtual legal platform that helps SMEs get easier access to expert legal advice that is clearer and more affordable. Clive is a former barrister and expert negotiator.

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