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Tag Archive

Changing from Employee to Consultant: pitfalls to avoid

Changing an individual’s working arrangements from employee to consultant may seem attractive; no employer National Insurance contributions to pay and greater flexibility for the individual. A win-win situation surely?

Samira Cakali, employment law expert, explains why this can be a risky course of action for the employer and looks at ways to minimise the risks.

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5 Minutes with Trainee Solicitor Emma Roberts

Emma joined SCE Solicitors in December 2017 as a Paralegal and began her Training Contract with the firm in September 2018. She is due to qualify as a Solicitor in March 2020. She kindly took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her role at SCE and for us to find out about her life in law.

Tell us about your current role and how you got there? 

I am a Trainee Solicitor at SCE Solicitors, a boutique law firm specialising in employment law and commercial litigation. We are a small team of highly experienced lawyers and our business model enables us to provide cost-effective, bespoke advice to both individuals and businesses.

On a daily basis I advise both employers and employees from a broad range of sections on contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. This involves advising on disciplinaries, grievances, redundancies, termination of employment and settlement agreements, as well as advising on and responding to tribunal claims.

I also assist in the running of the firm’s myHR service where I support businesses in the day-to-day management of their staff. 

I studied Law at the Open University before undertaking the Legal Practice Course and Master of Laws at the University of Law in Leeds. Whilst studying I worked at a law firm in Leeds as a Litigation Assistant before moving to SCE in December 2017. 

When did you first become interested in law? 

Like many lawyers, I was an argumentative child, so I was probably always destined for a legal career! 

What do you love about your role? What are the challenges? 

I get a lot of job satisfaction from a client coming to me with a problem, and then being able to sort it out for them. It usually takes quite a lot of time to draft contractual documents in the way the client wants, and getting it right is very rewarding. 

Challenges: the thing I think most lawyers struggle with – switching off. 

What do your mornings look like? 

Mornings differ quite a bit depending on weekdays or weekends. During the week I get up around 6:30am, make a VERY large coffee and then catch up on either an episode of ‘Mock The Week’ or ‘Would I Lie To You?’ whilst I get ready.

How do you achieve a work-life balance? 

It’s a work in progress. I tend to work hard during the week so that I can try and have some downtime on Saturdays and Sundays. It doesn’t always happen, but I feel it’s important to have my attention focused on my friends and family during the weekend and reset for Monday morning. 

Name 3 things you can’t live without in a day. 

Yorkshire Tea, Podcasts and Dairy Milk. Not very rock and roll! 

Do you read for leisure? 

I am a massive fan of the Audible App, and I love listening to all the books I don’t have time to read whilst I’m travelling. I have just finished Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which is beautifully written. I currently have my eye on Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. 

Where is your favourite holiday destination?  

Italy – I can’t resist the food… 

What food cannot you live without? 

Cheese!

My ideal weekend involves…

A Friday night chilling in front of the TV with a large G&T in hand (we’ve been watching old Happy Valley episodes recently). Saturday…a lie in! Followed by a lazy brunch and then a walk around Bolton Abbey. Catching up with friends and family for a full roast and a good red wine at home on Sunday. 

Thank you so much Emma! 

If you need any help and advice in relation to Employment and HR Law please do not hesitate to contact Emma or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at emma.roberts @scesolicitors.co.uk

If you enjoyed this article and would like to be kept updated on Employment Law or Commercial Disputes issues, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Help You Write Better Job Descriptions

As we enter September and move into ‘back to school’ month it is the perfect time of year for a bit of a #SpringClean. This month we will be continuing our ‘back to basics’ series which we began last year when we covered, holidays, the probation period and the employment contract. This week we are looking at job descriptions.

As the war for talent intensifies, the most important challenge these days is to attract more candidates to your job page and, most importantly, make them apply for the position. By carefully thinking about how to write the job description, you’ll have a better chance to attract more quality candidates. To write more successful job descriptions, have a look at the following tips:

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Samira Cakali Qualifies as a Mental Health First Aider

In August our Samira Cakali qualified as a Mental Health First Aider (‘MHFA’). In this article she discusses the scheme and how having a Mental Health First Aider could vastly improve your business and have a positive impact on the amount of disability claims that land on your desk. 

Why is mental health awareness in the workplace so important?

Mental ill health is the biggest reason for sickness absence and by far the largest cost to employers across the UK. Investing in staff wellbeing saves money in the long run – workplaces that prioritise mental health have more engaged, productive and loyal employees, who are less likely to need time off sick. 

What does the training involve?

MHFA is a two-day training course. The course is based around a five-step action plan for providing first aid to those suffering with their mental health. The course instructor educates the attendees on a variety of areas of mental health, how to spot the early signs of an issue and shows them how to apply the action plan in each case, which includes preserving life and guiding someone to appropriate sources of help. Areas that are covered are those such as: depression; suicide; substance misuse; anxiety; self-harm; eating disorders; personality disorders; and psychosis. 

What do businesses stand to gain from having a mental health first aider?

Both employers and employees stand to gain significantly from organisations having mental health first aiders. Training in MHFA will give employers the confidence to have these conversations, listen to their employees and therefore be able to understand how their employees feel and what support they need. When employees feel supported and able to discuss their concerns, they will feel better-able to continue to attend work and therefore sickness absence levels are likely to reduce. 

Are claims less likely if you are a MHFA?

The Equality Act 2010 (‘the Act’) places an obligation on employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees who are suffering from a disability under the Act. A mental health condition amounts to a disability under the Act if it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the employee’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities. If an employer fails to make reasonable adjustments, it risks facing a disability discrimination claim. 

A MHFA-trained employer will be better able to have conversations with employees suffering from mental health conditions. This in turn will enable the employer and employee to work together to ascertain what reasonable adjustments can be put into place to assist the employee. If the employee subsequently issues a claim for an alleged failure to make reasonable adjustments, the employer will then stand a far greater chance of being able to defend such a claim. However, if an employee feels supported, they are also less likely to issue a claim in the first place.

Further details about MHFA training can be found at www.mhfaengland.org

If you need help and advice regarding mental health in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact Samira or the employment team on 01133 50 40 30 or at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk

If you enjoyed this article and would like to be kepy updated on Employment Law & HR, Commercial Litigation and Data Protection issues, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter

SCE Solicitors Appoints a New Trainee Solicitor

SCE Solicitors expansion shows no sign of slowing down following the opening of a brand new office in Horsforth last month and now the appointment of a new trainee solicitor, Emma Roberts

Emma joined SCE in December 2017 as a Paralegal providing Employment and HR support. Emma advises both employers and employees from a broad range of sections on various employment law issues, including advising on disciplinary and grievances, termination of employment, and responding to internal employment disputes and tribunal claims. 

She also assists Director and Head of Employment, Samira Cakali, in the running of the firm’s myHR service where she supports businesses in the day-to-day management of their staff.

Emma studied Bachelor of Laws at the Open University whilst working as a Litigation Assistant at a law firm in Leeds. She then went on to complete a Diploma in Legal Practice and Master of Laws at the University of Law in Leeds.

Speaking about her appointment, Emma said “I am very excited to be a part of the SCE team as the firm continues to grow and strengthen its legal offering to clients across Yorkshire. I feel very fortunate to be training at a firm that truly invests in its people.

Samira said “Emma, has been an exceptional paralegal, she has quickly become an invaluable member of our small team and I am extremely pleased we have been able to offer her a training contract. She is methodical, detailed and has excellent client care, all the skills which I believe will equip her to become an excellent solicitor.” 

Emma will now spend the first six months training in the Employment Law Department in Horsforth before moving on to another two departments over the next 18 months, leading to her qualification as a Solicitor in March 2020. 

SCE offers three specialist service areas consisting of employment, commercial litigation and data protection. If you would like to find out more information about SCE, you can contact them on 01133 50 40 30 or at info@scesolicitors.co.uk 

If you enjoyed this article and would like to be kept updated on Employment Law & HR, Commercial Litigation and Data Protection issues, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Social Media and Social Networking in the Workplace

As social media expands into every aspect of our lives, including the workplace, striking a balance between leveraging social media as a business tool and managing its use by individual employees can be challenging. As more people become social media savvy, concerns over the impact of social media in the workplace are not diminishing over time.

So, what would a happy medium be for employers? Let’s see… 

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Top Ten Tips for Managing Millennials

Millennials are streaming into the workplace and quickly transforming company cultures. They are highly creative, social, technologically savvy, environmentally conscious and ambitious. On the other hand, they’re also impatient with ‘old-fashioned’ nine to five work days and hierarchical management structures.  Millennials are challenging the status quo, and some organisations may find them tricky to manage so following on from our article explaining what Millennials want, here are my top ten tips for managing millennials:  

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What do Millennials Want?

If you want your business to succeed in the digital age – you’ll need to recruit millennials. But first you need to understand how they differ from employees from previous generations. Born towards the end of the twentieth century, millennials are the first truly digital generation. For them, social media and smartphones are a natural part of everyday life. Where others try to keep up with new developments, millennials are ahead of the game. So, when it comes to recruiting millennials, what do they look for in employers?

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