Small businesses which lack in-house human resources expertise are routinely running the gauntlet of complicated employment laws and exposing themselves to the risk of heavy penalties, including fines and imprisonment. According to HR outsourcing firm, Vizual Human Resources (www.vizualhr.com), employees are becoming increasingly aware of employment law while stretched company directors struggle to keep abreast of the legal landscape.

These sentiments echoed those in a recent report from the Institute of Directors (www.iod.com) which fingered increasingly complex employment legislation as the main source of red-tape for UK businesses. According to the report more than 82% of business leaders surveyed said that HR issues such as employment tribunals and maternity arrangements presented a serious distraction to their central task of running the business.

Vizual HR (www.vizualhr.com) has just launched a range of HR management services for businesses with under 150 employees. The basic package starts at £55 per month and includes access to the company’s employment advice line as well as a full audit and report on your company’s HR system. Director, Ian Davidson, said “Few SMEs have a dedicated HR resource, which means that when things go wrong they have no procedures or experience to handle the problem. Awareness of employee issues, such as bullying and paternity leave may have increased, but few small businesses understand the importance of proactive staff management to spot the early signs of problems and minimise the business impact.”

Recent research carried out on behalf of HR specialist Professional Staff Solutions (www.pstfsolutions.com) showed that 72% of human resources professionals were sufficiently unaware of employment and tax law to put themselves at risk of prosecution.

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