CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT
‘Your Cash ATM’ firm – NOT a recommended ACC supplier
2% Business Rates Cap and £1,000 Rate Discount for Small Businesses
George Osborne cut the scheduled increase in business rates next April from 3.2pc to 2pc and also said small businesses will receive a £1,000 discount on their rates for the next two years.
The 2% cap on business rates is a clear sign that the Government is committed to assisting businesses operating on the High Street against the threat posed by large supermarkets operating on out of town sites.
This change means that that rate rise is limited to 2% instead of being linked to the September RPI inflation rise which would have been 3.2%. Clubs will also be allowed to pay their rates in 12 monthly instalments.
The Chancellor also announced plans to offer small businesses a £1,000 discount on their business rates. The £1,000 discount will apply to retail premises, including pubs and Clubs, with a rateable value of up to £50,000. Mr Osborne told the House of Commons: "Business rates impose a heavy burden on businesses of all sizes. Today, we will help ease that burden."
Food Safety Tips
Many Clubs are turning to food as a way to increase revenue and this is part of a wider trend in the licensed industry where fewer and fewer ‘wet’ led pubs remain. Food is attractive as it gives people a reason to visit, has higher profit margins than alcohol and also will encourage people to stay longer.
It is therefore important to have a robust food safety policy in place. The environmental health section of the Club’s local authority is responsible to make sure that when food is served that applicable systems are in place to protect the public. Health officers will look at the cleanliness of the Club, particularly the kitchen. It is important to identify and respond to potential hazards and safeguard against pests such as rats and mice.
The Club is expected to have a food safety policy which details the key employees and involves a plan to keep the premises safe, clean and pest free. The high risk areas for any production area are the handling and storage of food, making sure that food is not out of date and finally making sure the food is cooked and served appropriately. The food safety policy should identify these areas Food Safety Tips and the safeguards in place to prevent failings in any such area. Outside consultants can also be called in to provide advice to any Committee who are unsure over their food preparation area or any Committee who are considering introducing food into the Club.
The Committee should consider having employees specifically trained in food management and preparation and also taking advice from the Club’s local health department. Having clear documentation and systems in place will assist both the Club’s employees and also make sure that the Committee can demonstrate that food safety is being taken seriously
Who should manage employees on a day to day basis?
Because of the nature of Committee Management it is often important to delegate power to specific Committee Members and Officers so that they can deal with employee problems and questions without having to wait for the next scheduled Committee Meeting. There might be a problem which is easily solvable or there might be a problem which needs immediate attention, either way it is often not possible to delay taking a decision until the next Committee Meeting.
The Committee of a Club should therefore decide who will be the person who will be the Steward’s ‘line manager’ (assuming that the Committee is happy for the Steward to manage other employees, if not then this person can be a general point of contact for all employees). The ideal person will be someone who is often in the Club and who is available to discuss employment problems and try to find solutions. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a single person, the Committee could decide that more than one person will be responsible for day to day employment management and thus spread the responsibilities equally. It is simply important to make sure that if two or more Committee Members are given the responsibility of managing employees that they communicate with each other to remain up to date with decisions which have been taken.
Theoretically, the entire Committee could be given responsibility for the day to day management of employees but this would likely create logistical problems and lead to poor overall management of the employees. It is important to provide a consistent approach in dealing with employees and therefore one person or a small sub-section of the Committee should be appointed with the responsibility of managing the Club’s employees on a day to day basis. Whilst the Secretary of the Club is frequently the person appointed to this position, this does not need to be the case and it could be that another Member of the Committee is better placed to fulfil this important role.
In general the long term decisions will, of course, still remain the purview of the entire Committee but frequently situations will arise between Committee Meetings which can be properly and promptly resolved if the Committee delegates a person or persons to act on their behalf between meetings. There is no point having to wait until the next Committee Meeting to be able to make a simple employee decision which is why it is important for the Committee to delegate the responsibility of managing the Club’s employees to a small number of people. Any issues which arise between meetings can then be reported to the Committee at the next meeting along with the action taken.
It is important for the Committee to be clear on who is authorised to deal with the Club’s employees between meetings. Once this has been decided then it can be clearly communicated to the Club’s employees and they will know who they can speak to regarding any problems that they might have and who will be speaking to them regarding any problems which have occurred. Changes to this structure, even if just temporary, should always be communicated to the Club’s employees. Having a singular voice when dealing with employees is important as it allows for a consistent and direct approach whilst still allowing the Club’s elected Committee to be aware of any difficulties and make the final decision.
Questions & Answers
Q Can you confirm the holiday requirements for employees who work on bank holidays? We currently pay double time for employees who work on bank holidays and, as such, does this also count as one of their statutory holiday days?
A Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday per year. For jobs which are standard Monday-Friday days where the employees do not work bank holidays then this will often become 20 holiday days of the employee’s choosing and the 8 set bank holidays where they do not work but are still paid. If we assume that an employee works on all 8 bank holidays then they would still have the 5.6 weeks of statutory holiday available to them to take. If an employee works on a bank holiday but then takes a day off that week which they would usually work then this will usually be counted as 1 holiday day taken.
It is simply making sure that an employee is able to take 5.6 weeks holiday per year. On a five day a week basis, if they take all 8 bank holidays then they only have 20 days to take. If they work all bank holidays without a replacement day off then they would still have 28 days of holiday to take.
Paying an employee double time on a bank holiday does not mean that it is counted as one of their holiday days.
In light of this information, you may wish to review the Club’s pay policy for working bank holidays. You are not legally required to increase an employee’s pay because they work on a bank holiday although you should also be mindful of whether they have a contractual right to increased pay on these days. We can provide further assistance on this point if required.
Q A Member has asked whether electric cigarettes, are legal to be used in the Club. Apparently they have a small cartridge inserted which gives the impression of smoking and are actually been retailed as an aid to give up cigarettes. I am assured there is no nicotine or toxins included in the device.
A I would suggest that the Committee do not allow such a device to be used. I am not entering into an argument that the device is not a cigarette and is therefore not illegal, my advice is based purely on the fact that the device looks exactly like a cigarette and therefore will either give the wrong impression about the Club and may give rise to complaints being made, or it may indicate to other members or guests that the Club permits smoking and that as a result they light up a real cigarette which could create serious problems for the Club. Some devices of this nature also emit a smell or odour when used. You may also be interested to know that both Fullers and Weatherspoons pubs have banned these devices.