Make good use of your BGA/EEA Membership

As members will know, as a member of the ABRS,  this also entitles you to access to the British Grooms Association (“BGA”) and their very informative website.  This incorporates the Equestrian Employers Association, with information in their Employer’s Zone specifically for – well, equestrian employers! 

One of their major projects has been the creation of the EEACC – the Equestrian Employers Association Contract Creator, which is a tool that can be used for creating contracts for your workers.  Whilst we would always recommend obtaining independent legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances, using the Creator may at least give you a working template for a contract, which may only need checking or some tweaks by an employment solicitor to make it legally compliant (there may be a fee for this – ask beforehand).

The BGA are supported by Clarke Willmott LLP, who are a respected firm of solicitors and membership of the BGA includes access to free INITIAL telephone advice from them on their legal helpline.  Sometimes they will be able to give you an answer straightaway if your query is simple, but they will advise you if your problem is more complicated and you will need to take more formal and extensive advice.

Thank you to everyone who completed the recent survey compiled by the BGA into what support you need as an employer. The good news is that the EEA can assist in many of your requests (and for free as it is part of your ABRS membership!). In particular, it is concerning how many employers said that they didn’t have written contracts of employment for their employees, and there was great confusion regarding employment status;  employed or self- employed?

This is a very big issue in employment law generally It is crucial that you get it correct. A freelancer/self- employed contractor is only such if they meet the qualifying criteria. If an individual does not meet this criteria then they are almost certainly an employee and thus must receive a written contract and all employment rights.  There have been several high profile cases in Court recently, with the most notable one probably  being the case concerning the Uber taxi system.  

There are new cases going to Court all the time, particularly in view of the “gig” economy and “zero hours contracts”.  There is nothing wrong in principle in a “zero hours contract”, which is a contract which has no fixed hours of work at al. the idea is that it is flexible and people can work to suit them selves. In reality, it very often doesn’t work like that and there is a great deal of abuse of the concept, with workers being overworked , or not given any work whilst being forbidden to work elsewhere and there is usually no employment rights protection at all – no holidays, no sick pay, no maternity rights, no minimum wage. The Courts are now beginning to see such arrangements merely as a sham to save the employer having to pay for these rights.  It is ESSENTIAL that all parties know where they stand.

So we at ABRS would urge you to use your membership of the BGA/EEA if you have any queries about your employment practices.  Properly treated staff are happier staff and it could save you the time and stress of a tribunal.

Thanks to Lucy Katan, who founded the BGA some 11 years ago now. 


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