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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

What particular regulations do specific types of business (such as a hotel, or a printer, or a taxi firm) need to follow? We explain some of the key legal issues to consider for 200 types of business.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Businesses saving millions on sick pay during pandemic

18 January 2022

The government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme but new research suggests that businesses have already saved more than £300 million on sick pay because staff that work from home don't take as much time off.

As Brits are once again having to work from home if they can, new research has found that there has been a significant drop in the number of illness days taken by workers during the pandemic. A study by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance based on data from the Office for National Statistics has found that absences fell by 5.3% during the pandemic to a record low of 1.8 days per year, saving the British economy £338 million annually.

British businesses spent approximately £6,985,492,500 on sickness pay in 2019; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a large number of the population to work from home, this number fell to £6,647,062,500 in 2020. The female sickness absence rate fell 4.2% during the pandemic, while the male rate fell 6.25%.

In fact, COVID-19 was only the fourth biggest cause of sick days in the UK in the past two years. Minor illnesses and musculoskeletal issues were the top two reasons for taking a sick day in 2020.

Commenting on the research, John Atkinson, head of commercial business at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: "It's good news for many that the number of sick days Brits are taking are on the fall, with the increased number of people working from home a key factor. For small businesses and SMEs, sickness can be a huge issue, and our research suggests that many business owners can worry slightly less about this issue over the next 12 months."

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The government re-introduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme on 14 January 2022, allowing small businesses with fewer than 250 employees to get up to two weeks' Statutory Sick Pay (worth £192.70) for each employee who is off work because of COVID-19. The re-introduction was part of a new support package announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak before Christmas as a surge in Omicron cases was gripping the UK.

Any small firm wanting to take advantage of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme must make a claim by 24 March 2022. The scheme applies to any sick days taken on or after 21 December 2021.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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