Most landscapers and those who own or run a landscaping company will rightly claim that they have enough on their plate regarding that business, rather than concern themselves with legal matters which are best left to lawyers. There is nothing wrong with that point of view, however, we would caveat it by saying it does no harm to be familiar with some legal terms that apply to running a landscaping business, and in particular, those relating to employment law.

We say that because the last thing any landscaping business needs is to find itself being taken to court, not through any nefarious actions, but due to ignorance of employment law, or one of the specific terms that relate to it. Bear in mind, in legal cases, whether they be civil or criminal, ignorance of the law is no defence, and that ignorance could be extremely costly if the court rules against you.

So, to take a small step towards ensuring you know key employment law terms, we have outlined ten of the most important below.

#1 – Notice Period: Each employee should be given what is termed their ‘statutory minimum notice of termination’ should a situation arise, and you wish to terminate their employment. Longer periods are possible, but they must be written into their employment contract.

#2 – Unfair Dismissal: Term used when it is deemed an employer has dismissed an employee in unreasonable, unjust, or harsh circumstances. Also applicable when an employer states the dismissal reason was redundancy when it was not.

#3 – Redundancy Entitlement: If you make any employees redundant, they are legally entitled to redundancy pay based upon their employment length. Payments normally equate to between four and 16 weeks’ salary.

#4 – Carer’s Leave: A full-time employee who needs to care for a sick family member or one who requires personal care of some kind, has an entitlement to 10 days of leave per year, and this leave is paid.

#5 – Long Service Leave: If you have long-term employees who have been working for your landscaping business for many years, they are entitled to additional leave. After 7 years, this is 6 weeks’ leave, and after 10 years it can rise to 13 weeks.

#6 – Parental Leave: This applies to employees who are to become fathers, including those who are adopting a child. If they have worked for you for at least a year, their parental leave can be as long as 12 months, although not all will request it to be that long.

#7 – Gender Equality: This only applies to large landscaping businesses with more than 100 employees. As such, they must report their ‘gender equality indicators’ to ensure that their recruitment and salary policies are not biased towards one gender.

#8 – Modern Awards: The specifics of this will differ from industry to industry but in effect, modern awards specify the minimum entitlements of employees regarding their annual leave, minimum wage, working hours, and overtime rates.

#9 – Enterprise Agreements: Where a union or an employee group represents the employees of a business, enterprise agreements are the specifics relating to pay and conditions agreed with those organizations, rather than following the applicable modern awards.

#10 – Transfer of Undertakings: This is the legal term used to indicate that an employee’s rights and entitlements as specified in modern awards or enterprise agreements are retained should the ownership of a landscaping business change hands.