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Protection for Employers: Options for Peace of Mind

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Why do you need a fixed fee retainer for protection?

  1. Prevention is better than cure

    Options for Peace of Mind provides certainty. It’s also cheaper, quicker and easier.

    hlw Keeble Hawson’s aim is to prevent problems arising for clients. Our experienced advisors will work with your team to put in place policies and procedures to reduce the risk of employment issues and disputes arising. However sometimes no matter how good the planning and risk management, issues do arise. On these occasions dealing with ad hoc employee issues can get expensive. It’s also difficult to budget for because you never know when an issue might arise and how complex it might become. In such cases Options for Peace of Mind helps you manage risk and enable you to budget.

    Whatever the level of complexity and amount of employment advice you require this fixed fee retainer solution is the answer to protect your interests.

  2. Familiarity breeds efficiency

    All members of the team are highly experienced in providing practical and commercial advice on HR issues such as disciplinary problems and employee absence. This means when you ask a question, present us with a problem or just ask us for advice, you get the right answer quickly. This not only saves you from incurring unnecessary legal costs and unnecessary time wrestling with a particular problem, it also means you can rely on us to work in the background while you concentrate on what you're good at, growing your business.

  3. Exceptional advice, better service

    Our team has been recognised as one of the best in South Yorkshire by being ranked in "Tier 1" alongside much larger law firms by the industry guide "The Legal 500". Legal 500 says that the firm's employment experts offer "legally sound, commercial advice" and describes the team as "personable" and as being strong in transport, engineering and professional services. Barry Warne (Head of Department) based in our Sheffield office is described as "extremely knowledgeable".

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How can Options for Peace of Mind help your organisation?

The firm has developed a range of advice and support packages which are suitable for all businesses, ranging from start-ups and very small businesses to large regional and national companies and organisations, including the top of the range Platinum package and insured arrangements. All packages are offered on an annual basis and include free annual reviews at the renewal date.

In addition to the products described below, we are happy to offer our usual high quality service on the basis of hourly rates or "blended" hourly rates (hourly rates which apply no matter which level of partner or solicitor does the work). We are also happy to consider reduced hourly rates on a bulk discount basis for clients requiring extensive advice. We also offer other Employment Protection Insurance and HR advice and support from our network of experienced HR Consultants.

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The Product Range

Start Up Package

This package is suitable for business start-ups and relatively new businesses with no in house HR expertise. This gives a year of advice and model documents at a very limited cost.

The package provides legally compliant model contracts of employment and enables you to take advice from our employment specialists using our telephone helpline for up to two hours per year. Model policies in relation to discipline and grievance, discrimination, bullying and harassment are also supplied as part of the package.

The telephone advice does not include consideration of, or drafting of, correspondence or other documents.

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Level 1 Package

Our Level 1 package is suitable for relatively small businesses, typically with one to twenty employees, turnover of up to £1million pa and no in house HR expertise.

The Level 1 package includes the hlw Keeble Hawson "Employment Handbook" service. This service enables clients to access our Handbook product either online, in hard copy or both. The Handbook contains comprehensive information and guidance about Employment Law and practice which will greatly reduce the need for you to take specific legal advice. It also gives you access to about 50 template documents which will enable you to deal with day to day situations such as employee sickness absence and disciplinary issues without having to take specific advice which could be expensive.

The Handbook also contains a model Staff Handbook which can be issued to your workforce "as it is" or can be amended (at a separate fee to be agreed) to suit the particular circumstances of and arrangements within your business.

Level 1 allows you to use our telephone advice helpline for up to four hours per year. Again, this package does not include consideration of, or drafting of, correspondence or other documents.

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Level 2 Package

Level 2 is also suitable for small or medium sized businesses, but provides a far higher level of practical advice and support. It is as per Level 1, but with unlimited telephone advice and also includes consideration of and advice about documentation (such as contract clauses requiring interpretation, grievances or other correspondence from employees, or medical reports about employees) and the drafting of correspondence and other documents. Examples of this would be drafting disciplinary invitation letters or decision letters, replies to employee grievances or bespoke letters to medical practitioners where medical advice is required in relation to a sick or injured member of staff.

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Level 3 Package

Level 3 is our "Gold Service" package. It is based on a full annual retainer covering all employment advice, and is suitable for medium-sized and large businesses with in-house HR expertise.

In addition to the cover provided as per Level 2, the Gold Service includes such additional work as attending meetings with you, drafting contracts and policies, dealings with employee severance negotiations and drafting and negotiating compromise agreements and even attending disciplinary and grievance meetings as observer/adviser if required.

The only type of work which is excluded from the Gold Service is the conduct of Employment Tribunal claims and advocacy. Cover for Tribunal work is available with the Platinum Package, or can be negotiated separately on an individual basis or covered by insurance.

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Level 4 Package (Platinum Service)

Excluded from cover are:

  • Employment Tribunal settlements or awards; and any award of costs made against you in connection with the Employment Tribunal proceedings.
  • Insurance cover for these liabilities is available as outlined below.

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Annual Reviews

All the packages on offer include a free initial meeting with one of our partners or solicitors to help you assess your requirements and decide upon the most suitable package, and an annual review meeting with the responsible partner to discuss how the service has operated in the preceding year and to discuss the right level of cover for the following year. This gives an opportunity for you to discuss how satisfied you have been with our service, in a "low key" meeting for which no charge is made.

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Employment Protection Insurance

We can also arrange insurance against Employment Tribunal awards of compensation and settlements and awards of costs in favour of other parties to Employment Tribunal claims.

Insurance cover is provided through our associated insurance brokers, Albion Legal Services and is based on an annual premium. An audit will be required before cover can be confirmed. If insurance is taken out against the cost of defending Tribunal claims, a 25% reduction in our fees for Platinum Service is offered. Please ask for an indicative fee quotation.

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HR Consultancy Services

We have built up a network of HR Consultants who can assist with all of your HR requirements, be this for a one-off consultation exercise or investigation, or full HR advice retainer arrangement.

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How to Proceed

If you require further information or wish to subscribe to any of the packages, please get in touch with your usual contact within the Employment Team, or contact Lauren Fulcher via or 0114 252 1410.

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Key Individuals

Position: Partner
T: 0114 2521437

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