Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, has revealed the five most common employment law myths in the UK and called on the Government to do more to give clear guidance about legal issues in the workplace.

According to the national firm, many businesses are not fully aware of the key employment law rights and obligations and as a result, are at risk of making decisions which are unlawful and could lead to expensive legal claims against them.

Analysis of the feedback which the firm has received over the past 12 months from the hundreds of businesses using its fixed cost employment law service, IMHRplus, Irwin Mitchell has identified what it believes are the top five employment law myths which currently exist within UK companies. In order of the most common, these are:

  • Myth 1 – In order to avoid claims when dismissing an employee you must follow a particular procedure and are safe from claims as long as you do so
  • Myth 2 – Parents have the right to work part time
  • Myth 3 – You can’t make a woman on maternity leave redundant
  • Myth 4 – Employers must provide a reference to employees who are leaving
  • Myth 5 – It is not possible to retire employees anymore.

Tom Flanagan, Partner and National Head of Employment at Irwin Mitchell, said:“Employment laws are often depicted as being anti-competitive, unduly restrictive and in many cases overly generous. Policy statements issued by the Government often appear to lend credence to misleading information about employment rights. In any event, there is insufficient clear guidance on basic existing law available to employers who are struggling with regular change.

“It is unsurprising then that some UK businesses are confused about what they can and cannot do with regard to their staff. We believe that what businesses really want, and need, is not more and constantly changing employment laws, but clear information and guidance on managing existing laws.

“We are not pretending that employment law is easy – it isn’t – but generally it should not be difficult to get the basics right. We want to help businesses realise what is and what isn’t the case and help them to ensure that when they make a decision about their workforce, they are doing it correctly.”