Small Business Owners: 5 Ways to Avoid Falling Foul of Employment Law

As a small business owner, it's unlikely that you have the budget for a full-time human resources manager, but that doesn't mean you are exempt from the law. Employment law is complex, and there are often stiff penalties for companies that break the rules, even if those businesses employ only one or two people. Make sure your small business stays on the right side of employment law, and use the following five sources of information and advice.

Small business lawyers

For matters of the law, it should come as no surprise that a specialist lawyer is the best source of advice and information. There are almost certainly tax-efficient ways to offset the cost of a lawyer's services, and you may only need to get advice under certain issues. If you're worried about a change in the law, or you have a specific question about one aspect of your employees' contract, a lawyer is one way that you can get complete peace of mind. Many lawyers specialize in supporting small businesses, and can offer preferential rates, so shop around for the best rates. 

Professional organizations

Most countries and states have small business associations (or the equivalent), which can offer support and advice, in a variety of ways. This can include advice on employment law, either through their website or through an experienced attorney of the association. A lot of legal information is fairly generic, ranging from the way you draft contracts, to the amount of annual leave that your employees should get.

Government websites

Most governments actively encourage small business growth, as they understand how importance these companies are to the national economy. As such, you can normally find detailed employment law advice on your federal and state websites. Many of these sites display information for small businesses in a specific section of the website, and you can also normally contact somebody directly for more specific advice. Register your details to receive updates and alerts for new information.

Business press

Certain aspects of employment law often change, as governments try to improve general working conditions. These changes are often quite small, but can make a big difference to small or family owned businesses. As such, it's vital that small business owners prepare for any changes as early as possible, especially if they are going to cost money. Keep up with changes in law by reading the business section of national newspapers, or subscribe to specialist magazines. Television programmes about current affairs are also a great source of information.

Social networks

Never underestimate the value of social networks when it comes to gathering information. While there is a risk that you could follow incorrect advice, find the right experts and you will gain access to a valuable stream of information and advice. Follow employment law experts on Twitter or LinkedIn, and read updates and articles that these people publish. There are also a number of blogs for small businesses, where experts publish articles about employment law and changes in legislation.

Small businesses may not have the budget to keep lots of people on the payroll, but they still need to make sure they follow the law. Don't allow your small business to fall foul of legislation, and make use of all the cost-effective resources that are available to you.