From here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions across all our services. Using the filter simply choose either business or individual to access the complete range of services available. Can’t find the answer you are looking for? Contact us to discuss your query.

I think a staff member is going to bring a claim for unfair dismissal what shall I do?


If the employee has already been dismissed, you must ensure that they have been given a right to appeal that decision. The employee will then need to commence ACAS Early Conciliation to raise their claim before issuing employment tribunal proceedings. The ACAS Early Conciliation will give you advanced warning of the claim and enables you to decide whether to offer a resolution, such as a settlement payment.

I want to discipline a staff member, what do I do?


You must ensure that you follow your own disciplinary procedure and the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This includes carrying out a separate investigation, inviting the employee to a disciplinary hearing, providing them in advance with details of the case against them, allowing the employee to state their own case and call witnesses or produce evidence, applying an appropriate sanction such as a disciplinary warning, and allowing the employee an opportunity of appeal against the decision taken. The employee also has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official at disciplinary and grievance meetings.

Are employment solicitors and HR consultants the same? 


Employment solicitors will normally represent and advise clients in relation to contentious legal issues, whereas HR consultants will normally provide a hands-on service, for example sitting in disciplinary and grievance meetings to advice. 

Should an employer use a solicitor to draw up a settlement agreement? 


Settlement agreements can be complex. It is important that the agreement properly deals with the settlement of claims, applies the tax rules correctly, and sets out obligations regarding the employee’s post employment restrictions and confidentiality. As a settlement agreement is a legal document, it is advisable to instruct solicitors to draft an agreement appropriate to the employer’s requirements.  

Does an employee need a solicitor for a settlement agreement?


Settlement agreements are used to resolve disputes between employees and employers, normally at the end of the employment. The law surrounding settlement agreements requires that employees must have independent legal advice in order for a settlement agreement to be binding. It is customary for the employer to pay a contribution towards the employee’s legal costs in taking advice on the settlement agreement.

I have an employee who has been sick whilst on leave, can they get the holiday back?


If an employee falls ill before a pre-planned holiday, or during that holiday, they are legally entitled to re-schedule that holiday and to take it later. Employers should set out how the employee must report such absence within their holiday/ sickness policies.

How do I calculate holiday pay?


Holiday pay should be calculated on an employee’s normal rate of pay. This should include their basic pay, together with payments intrinsically linked to their role. Current caselaw shows that this will normally include guaranteed and compulsory overtime, commission, bonuses related to performance, and other allowances, such as shift allowances. The rules are complex and advice on your own circumstances is essential to ensure you do not overpay or underpay holiday entitlement.  

What licence do I need to run a pub?


You are going to need a premises licence in order to provide any of the following licensable activities:

  • The sale of alcohol
  • The provision of regulated entertainment
  • The provision of late night refreshment

We can apply for a premises licence on your behalf and guide you through the complex application process as well as arrange to advertise your application in a local newspaper as required.

What do I need to do to get a licence?


You will need to complete a premises licence application form and submit it to the relevant Licensing Authority (and relevant authorities) together with a scale plan for the premises. If you intend to sell alcohol then you will need to nominate a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) on the application. The DPS will need to provide a consent form (the DPS also needs to hold a personal licence) and you will also need to submit the relevant fee with the application.

After you have put your application in you'll need to:

  • place a public notice on your premises to allow for 28 days’ consultation 
  • place the same public notice in a local newspaper within ten working days of submitting the application

There will be a 28-day consultation period which allows consultees and members of the public time to consider your application, and raise any concerns under the licensing objectives. Once this period has expired without any representations having been made, your premises licence will be granted.

A hearing must be held if any representations are made in respect of the application. If a hearing is held it can result in the licence:

  • being granted
  • being granted subject to additional conditions
  • have licensable activities listed in the application be excluded
  • being rejected

A premises licence lasts for an unlimited time unless the licence is revoked, suspended or surrendered.

I want to buy a pub what should I do?


Buying a pub can be a hugely nerve-wracking experience with many aspects to cover before you get your name above the door.

The first step is to decide whether it is in fact the life for you. It is important also to research, plan and adapt your business strategy. Decide how you want to own the business and consider the following options:

  • Take a tenancy for a number of years tied to a brewery - this business will not be your own
  • Take a lease for a longer period of time which will allow you to have more control
  • Purchase the freehold where every aspect of the business is yours outright.

Regardless of which option you choose, all businesses need supply chains to succeed and you must consider the costs of purchasing stock, products and equipment, including leasing of any third-party items.  It may be that you want to continue with existing suppliers but also consider the opportunities available with new suppliers and the benefits of signing up to new agreements.

Licensing is an important aspect of any public house business purchase. It is important that you transfer any premises licence into your name or someone of your choosing. A premises supervisor will be responsible for ensuring that the conditions of the premises licence are complied with at all times. The premises licence will determine what, when, and how you will be able to carry out activities in the business, varying from service of alcohol and food through to opening hours and even entertainment allowed in your pub. You should consider if the existing premises licence fits with your strategy and whether any applications need to be made to vary the licence such as extending opening hours.