Help­ing to ne­go­ti­ate the em­ploy­ment mine­field

A new as­so­ci­a­tion has been formed to help ed­u­cate em­ploy­ers and pro­tect the in­ter­ests of eques­trian staff

Horse & Hound - - Newsinsider - By RACHAEL TURNER For more in­for­ma­tion visit eques­tri­anem­ploy­ers.org.uk

A NEW or­gan­i­sa­tion for eques­trian em­ploy­ers has been launched af­ter a study re­vealed that more than half of grooms are paid be­low the min­i­mum wage.

The Eques­trian Em­ploy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (EEA) has been set up by the Bri­tish Grooms As­so­ci­a­tion (BGA) to of­fer ad­vice and sup­port to all those who em­ploy staff in the horse world.

The EEA of­fers a range of sup­port for em­ploy­ers, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion about pen­sions and pay­rolls, le­gal ad­vice and a con­tract cre­ator.

“We work to ed­u­cate em­ploy­ers about their obli­ga­tions and also in­form em­ploy­ees of their le­gal rights,” said Lucy Katan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the BGA and EEA.

“Re­cent high-pro­file pros­e­cu­tions for non-com­pli­ance [among em­ploy­ers] have in­creased the aware­ness of the is­sue across the in­dus­try, but there is a long way to en­sure em­ploy­ers un­der­stand their le­gal obli­ga­tions.

“The EEA has been launched to pro­vide good em­ploy­ment ad­vice, sup­port and HR tools for eques­trian em­ploy­ers.

“This can only be a good thing for eques­trian busi­nesses, staff re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion and most im­por­tantly grooms.”

RE­VEAL­ING SUR­VEY

THE launch of the EEA comes at a cru­cial time.

The BGA re­cently ran a sur­vey, which re­vealed that 57% of re­spon­dents who were em­ployed were not paid the Na­tional Min­i­mum Wage (NMW) or the Na­tional Liv­ing Wage.

This is an il­le­gal and “aw­ful” statis­tic for the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Ms Katan.

It also emerged that 89% of em­ploy­ees were aware of the NMW, de­spite the ma­jor­ity not re­ceiv­ing this level of in­come, and many were not re­ceiv­ing sick pay, statu­tory hol­i­day en­ti­tle­ment or statu­tory ma­ter­nity pay.

“Due to the na­ture of the in­dus­try, many em­ploy­ees work hours that far ex­ceed any con­tracted hours,” said Ms Katan. “Where long hours are worked, many re­ceived nei­ther re­mu­ner­a­tion nor time off in lieu. Thus more of­ten than not, em­ploy­ers are flout­ing the NMW and NLW reg­u­la­tions.

“There seems to be an in­dus­try-wide lack of un­der­stand­ing that even if the em­ployer is a pri­vate in­di­vid­ual un­der­tak­ing a hobby, they are still obliged to com­ply with em­ploy­ment rights,” Ms Katan added. “Many em­ploy­ees are wor­ried to raise con­cerns for fear

of los­ing their job and pos­si­bly their home, if that is part of their em­ploy­ment.”

Bri­tish event rider Fran­cis Whit­ting­ton sup­ports the in­tro­duc­tion of the EEA.

“There is a lot of reg­u­la­tion sur­round­ing how we man­age our busi­nesses — it’s a mine­field out there,” he said. “Of­ten we don’t know what th­ese rules and reg­u­la­tions are, but we should.

It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity, and this as­so­ci­a­tion pro­vides easy ac­cess to that in­for­ma­tion.”

VALU­ABLE GROOMS

IR­ISH even­ter Sam Dempsey said the launch of the EEA was a “bril­liant” step.

“When I started em­ploy­ing peo­ple, I wanted to do things right, but I didn’t quite know what the right way was,” he told H&H.

“I met Lucy [Katan] through a good busi­ness prac­tices course. It was ter­ri­fy­ing learn­ing where you could be go­ing wrong, but I found out do­ing things right was much eas­ier than it first seemed.

“When I find a good groom, it’s im­por­tant they are looked af­ter.”

The EEA is avail­able to all those that em­ploy staff in the eques­trian in­dus­try.

An­nual mem­ber­ship to the as­so­ci­a­tion costs £37.50.

Even­ter Fran­cis Whit­ting­ton said riders have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to un­der­stand em­ploy­ment rules

Edited by Eleanor Jones

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