Hethertons Solicitors chooses Tiny Tickers as its annual charity

Simon Nellar, Director at Hethertons Solicitors

A leading infant heart charity, Tiny Tickers, has been selected as the chosen charity of one of York’s leading law firm’s Hethertons Solicitors.

Founded in 1999 by world-renowned foetal cardiologist Dr Helena Gardiner, Tiny Tickers has dedicated itself to helping children with a range of heart conditions and improving early detection rates of cardiac conditions.

In recent years it has created large-scale sonographer training programmes, new parent support and information projects and powerful lobbying campaigns for improved standards.

Having heard about the good work that it has done to improve detection and the treatment of infant hear defects, Hethertons decided that the Leeds-based charity would be the ideal recipient of funds it plans to raise in 2018.

With a number of events and sponsorship opportunities planned at the law firm over the next 12 months, Hethertons has high hopes of raising hundreds for the good cause.

Simon Nellar, Director at Hethertons, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Tiny Tickers this year. With more than 3,000 being born each year with heart defects in the UK, anything we can do to help Tiny Tickers improve early detection is worth it.

“We are looking forward to seeing just how much we can raise for this fantastic cause this year and we hope the local community will get behind us.”

Hethertons Solicitors hopes to help employers with their World Cup fears

With the World Cup less than a month away now, excitement is building around the world, but employers should start planning now to avoid a sudden spate of unexplained absences and sudden holiday requests.

Hethertons Solicitors have said that there are solutions that employers can consider to keep staff happy and their business trading efficiently.

“Every time there is a major sporting event employers start to grow concerned about an increase in staff away time, but employers can put measures in place without removing the spirit of the competition,” said David Scott, Senior Associate Solicitor in Hethertons’ Employment Law team.

“If possible, employers should be open and honest with their team and accept that they are likely to receive an influx of requests for days off on the dates key matches are due to take place.”

David said that the minimum notice period required by law for taking leave is at least twice as long as the amount of leave a worker wants to take, so a request for one day’s holiday should be lodged at least two days in advance.  However, this can be longer if the company has specified this in their staff handbook or employment contract.

“Although the Government suggests a period of twice the time taken, in reality, most businesses will request a minimum of a weeks’ notice, with many stipulating that they are contacted sooner,” explained David.

“There is no absolute right to be granted a holiday.  The rules regarding the right to refuse holiday stipulate that staff members should be given at least the same length of notice as they have requested, so for a one week holiday they should be given at least one week’s notice.”

David added that employers can restrict or cancel leave on a shorter notice if they face an unexpected busy period, but they should maintain a record of this in case it is disputed.

A much simpler approach, David suggests, is to allow a degree of flexibility for fans by possibly relax usual rules about internet access during work time to allow employees to check scores online or by allowing the radio to be on, as long as it isn’t too disruptive to others or the business.

“Employers should take a pragmatic approach to the World Cup and consider how they can allow staff to follow their teams, without severely impacting the business.

“Placing an outright ban on watching the football or not allowing them to check the scores online could lead some staff to use other methods to avoid coming into work, which is likely to lead to conflict and disruption, so a balanced approach may be best.”

While businesses are under no legal obligation to take any of these steps, it is important to consider practical ways of managing potential disruption.

If any of the above options are considered, employers need to ensure they strike the right balance between keeping their workers happy and still getting work done.

This means that, for example, employers should be clear about how much radio or internet use is reasonable.

Businesses should also think carefully about how the World Cup might impact their workplace policies in other areas, particularly being under the influence of alcohol at work.

David added: “If businesses decide to be more flexible or to change their usual employment practices, then this needs to be communicated clearly ahead of time.

“As always communication is the key. If allowing flexibility isn’t appropriate or if the business is experiencing a busy period and is required to limit holiday time taken then it is important staff are informed.

“Most people can’t wait to enjoy the upcoming matches, but it is important that employers are clear with staff about what is expected, while also being sympathetic to those in the workplace who have no interest football – there is no point pleasing one member of your team if it disrupts or upsets others.”

Considering the potential conflicts and complexities that may arise from the upcoming World Cup, David recommends that businesses speak to a professional adviser in advance to ensure they have the right plan in place.

To find out more about Hethertons Solicitors’ wide range of employment law services, please visit www.hethertons.co.uk or call 01904 528200

Iconic York hotel to be renamed and rebranded

The Royal York Hotel, which sits adjacent to the railway station and is currently known as The Principle York, is set to undergo a rebranding after its management was taken over by the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).

The iconic hotel, a stone’s throw from the banks of the river Ouse, has been bought up by a French investment firm named FdR in a reported £800 million deal. The branding and management of the hotel will be undertaken by IHG as part of an agreement with the French firm.

Commenting on the takeover, a spokesperson for IHG said: “This deal will establish IHG as the leading luxury hotel operator in the UK, taking it to more than 2k rooms in this valuable, fast growing segment.”

IHG has yet to reveal which of its brands will be applied to the Royal York, but the organisation is said have a new upscale hotel brand presently in development.

The Royal York has stood in its current location on Station Road since its completion in 1878, when it was called the Royal Station Hotel. It has 159 rooms and is presently on the shortlist for three categories in the York Tourism Awards.

For professional legal advice regarding your business, contact Simon Crack today.

Business remains on the road during winter cold snap

Keeping the wheels of commerce turning despite the worst excesses of this winter’s Beast from the East, proved costlier than anticipated.

City of York Council has revealed that the budget for gritting the roads, allowing the hard-working entrepreneurs of York to get to their places of business, overspent by £181,000.

The budget for winter maintenance during 2017/18 was £400,000, but the final figures came in at £581,000. Fortunately, forward thinking by the council means there is a £258,000 reserve fund set aside to tackle adverse winter conditions, like the ones endured earlier this year.

According to the official figures, the roads in the city were gritted 108 times this winter and the footpaths treated 27 times.

The council’s executive member for transport and planning, Councillor Peter Dew, said of the harsh weather: “It was to be expected that we would go over budget on that, and I think they did as well as they could.

“I have said often that the highways team did an excellent job, not only the gritting crews getting their job done but also the follow up of temporary pothole repairs which were due to the weather as well.”

The council is now embarking on the 2018/19 programme of roadworks, to ensure business in the city continues moving forward.

For professional legal advice regarding your business, contact Simon Crack today.

Good news as year-long pay squeeze comes to an end and business confidence rises

Businesses across the UK and their employees will be welcoming the news that the pay squeeze, which has lasted for more than a year, is over.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that during the first quarter of 2018, wages rose at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent. This beat the rise in inflation for the same three months, which was at 2.7 per cent.

Business confidence was also on the rise, with more companies hiring, reflected in the increase in people in work, rising by 197,000 to 32.3 million. This means that 75.6 per cent of people aged between 16 and 64 are now in some form of employment, the highest rate since records were started in 1971.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, welcomed the news, saying: “Growth in real wages means that people are starting to feel the benefit of more money in their pockets; another turning point as we build a stronger, fairer economy.

“The unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 40 years and with our National Living Wage we are making sure that the lowest-paid feel the benefit with an extra £2,000 a year.”

The growth in business confidence was highlighted earlier in the month, when the latest figures from ICAEW’s Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) were released. These showed that confidence was at its highest level in two years, with a seven per cent rise on the first quarter in Q2 2018. This increased confidence was felt across all business sectors.

If your business is in need of legal advice, Hethertons has a pricing solution to suit you. To find out how we can help, contact Simon Crack today.

Four thousand babies and toddlers own companies in the UK

An analysis of filings with Companies House has revealed that 4,000 babies and toddlers under the age of two are listed as beneficial owners of companies in the UK.

The analysis, carried out by Global Witness, also found that five individuals own more than 6,000 companies each.

The revelations are likely to raise concerns about the integrity of the UK’s companies registry, at a time when the ownership of assets in the UK by transnational criminal networks is high on the agenda.

Companies House is on record as saying that “there is no verification of the documents we receive as long as they have been correctly completed”. It also said that filings are accepted “in good faith”.

However, despite the high number of potentially spurious filings identified by the researchers, only one individual has ever been prosecuted for a false filing and that person reportedly only made the filing to illustrate the problem.

Businessman, Kevin Brewer was fined £12,000 in March this year for falsely setting up a company in the name of former Business Secretary, Vince Cable five years ago, apparently with the sole purpose of highlighting the weaknesses in the system.

Companies House told Quartz that it is “an offence to knowingly or recklessly file false or misleading information”, adding “where potentially criminal activities are suspected, we work closely with law enforcement bodies”.

If you need legal advice related to setting up or registering a company, our business department can help. To find out more, contact Simon Crack today.

York Candlelighters receives £5,400 from city’s professional community

The past 12 months has seen the members of York Trusted Professionals raise thousands of pounds for its annual chosen charity. This year’s beneficiary has been the childhood cancer charity, Candlelighters.

The York Trusted Professionals, which includes local business owners, builders, solicitors and the heads of other local companies, raised a grand total of £5,400, a cheque for which was presented to Candlelighters at a special presentation.

Established in 1976, the charity has a long history of supporting families in Yorkshire whose children have been affected by cancer, providing funds for medical equipment and investing in research.

Speaking on the money that was raised, Brian Curran, Candlelighters Corporate Fundraiser, said: “It has been a great partnership over the last year and we are so grateful to all the members of York Trusted Professionals for their fundraising efforts.

“They have made a great difference to the support we can offer to York families who are dealing with the challenge of childhood cancer.”

A cause close to our heart, Hethertons Solicitors previously sponsored York’s Trust Fest when it picked Candlelighters as its chosen charity. And one of our team played a key role this time around too.

Simon Crack, Director at Hethertons Solicitors and York Trusted Professionals member, said: “We had a fantastic year raising money for the Candlelighters and our members enjoyed taking part in a number of events, which I think is reflected in the generous donations that they, their colleagues and clients have made.

“Candlelighters do amazing work for children and their families who are affected by cancer and I hope that our donation goes some way to supporting them in the year to come.”

For professional legal advice regarding your business, contact Simon Crack today.

What happens if I want to restructure my business?

Restructuring or reorganising your business can be a big step and one that should not be embarked upon without first seeking professional advice. In this month’s newswire we take a look at the challenges you may face if you decide it is time to make that change.

There are a variety of reasons why you might choose to restructure or reorganise your business. These can range from avoiding insolvency to an increase in demand, right through to one of your business partners deciding to call it a day.

Whatever motive you may have for this course of action, having a clear purpose in mind prior to commencing the restructure is essential. Your reason for restructuring will determine the actions you need to take and the issues you may face along the way.

For instance, if you are restructuring in order to downsize, you may well need to remove some of the service offerings you currently provide. This, in turn, will impact upon staff, cash flow and capacity going forward.

When going through the restructuring process, you will need to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed of what is going on and how it will affect them. Effective communication is one of the key areas in which legal advice can play a major part, ensuring you are compliant with the relevant legislation and covered against contractual disputes or Employment Tribunal claims further along the line.

Other considerations you may need to be prepared for include relocation and the legality of expecting your staff to move with the business; redundancies and the legislation regarding that area; and reshuffling management, which brings an altogether new set of challenges such as the re-drafting of contracts, shareholder agreements and other crucial documents.

Getting professional legal advice at an early stage is essential to addressing any issues that may otherwise arise and ensuring your restructuring goes ahead amicably with minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations.

If you intend to restructure your business, it always pays to seek specialist advice. To find out how we can help, contact Simon Crack today.

It’s a case of swings and roundabouts for families in York

Good news for York families with little ones, as the village of Fulford unveiled a new playground.

Thanks to joint funding from City of York Council and Fulford Parish Council, the new £34,000 development boasts, among other things, a zip wire, climbing frames and special equipment for toddlers to enjoy.

Situated on the School Lane playing field in Fulford, the playground offers great fun for kids of all ages and, with the spring half term fast approaching, should be getting put through its paces over the next few weeks.

Councillor Andrew Vevers of Fulford Parish Council said of the joint venture: “We’ve been aware that our old equipment was nearing the end of its life, so it’s been very gratifying to receive our grant of £17,000 from City of York Council, for which the Parish Council has been able to provide matched funding. Councillor Aspden worked hard to secure the grant for us, and it has come at a perfect time.”

Councillor Keith Aspden of City of York Council added: “With the new equipment in place, many local families now have the chance to enjoy themselves in a high quality play area, and I would strongly encourage all local residents to get in touch with me if they have ideas of where future improvements should take place.”

For advice on any aspect of law affecting you or your family, contact Simon Nellar at Hethertons today.

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