Staffing

If you take on the existing staff, make sure that you know exactly how long they have been employed in the business. If the current owner has only been there for a year, it does not mean the staff have been there for a maximum of a year. I had a case where the cleaning lady had been there for 26 years. I said I was closing the pub for refurbishment and would advertise for staff to start work in a week’s time. All the staff could apply, which meant at that time, they all had new contracts. The vendor agreed a redundancy package with the cleaner’s husband on behalf of the cleaner, who then suddenly realised that she was entitled to a lot more because of the 26 years. It all got very unpleasant.

If you take on existing staff ensure that there is a sufficient sum allowed in the purchase price to cover redundancy payments. Be assured that you will be extremely fortunate if they all stay with you; the cost of an employment tribunal is every businessman’s nightmare. If you are involved, seek the best legal advice. It always costs money and if you win, invariably the people who have brought the tribunal have insufficient funds and you will pick up the bill. Avoid them at all costs.

Staff Training

If you put any member of staff through a course, ensure that you write into their contract, that if they leave within a specified time the cost of the training and course will be deducted from their salary. You cannot afford to pay for costly training without some provisos.

Contracts of Employment

Use contracts of employment for all staff, full time and part time, and ensure that any part-timers sign an Inland Revenue form stating that this is their only job. Or, you deduct tax, and ideally, let your accountant handle it.

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