Start-ups - your business and the law

At DNT Chartered Accountants we can provide start-up businesses in the Belfast area with help and advice. Here are some general points to consider regarding start-up businesses and the law.

One of the key complaints voiced by small business owners is the amount of 'red tape' they have to deal with on a day to day basis. Keeping up to date with business legislation can seem like something of a minefield.

The regulations you need to comply with will depend to a large degree on the specific nature of your business. Here are some of the key areas that are covered by the law.

Discrimination

By law you must ensure that your business services and employment processes do not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability, age, race, sexual orientation, gender, or religious or similar belief.

Employment

Employing staff carries with it a range of additional legal responsibilities. Key areas covered by employment regulations include:

  • employment contracts
  • holiday and sick pay and allowances
  • statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay
  • disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • redundancy and dismissal
  • monitoring your employees
  • working time
  • the right to request flexible working patterns.

Health and Safety

There are numerous Health and Safety laws which are applicable to businesses. The aim of these is to provide a safe working environment which minimises the risk of work-related accidents or illnesses.

Insurance

The law only requires businesses to purchase motor insurance for any vehicles, and compulsory employers' liability insurance for businesses that employ any staff. However, other forms of insurance, such as public liability, product liability, and business interruption insurance, are also advisable.

Intellectual property

These laws exist to protect the intellectual property of a business. This includes the name of a business, and any material covered by copyrights, designs, patents and trade marks.

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage was first introduced in April 1999. It applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall. Please ask us for the latest rates or refer to http://www.lowpay.gov.uk.

Privacy and data protection

The processing of personal data is restricted by the principles of the Data Protection Act, while email marketing and telesales are also restricted by regulations.

Specialised sectors

Some businesses are also subject to specific regulations relating to their line of work. This may include food businesses, health and care services, and transport businesses.

Tax and National Insurance

There are numerous tax implications when starting up a business. We have expertise in this area, and would be happy to assist you.

Trading regulations

There are a number of laws governing the description and supply of goods and services, terms and conditions of sale, and distance selling.

These are just some of the areas covered by the law, and new rules are constantly introduced.

You should obtain professional legal advice to ensure that you are complying with the appropriate regulations.

If you are starting a business in the Belfast area and would like professional assistance, contact DNT Chartered Accountants.


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