Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Seminar success for Telford law firm

Over 40 delegates joined lawyers from a Telford firm to learn about how to avoid the common pitfalls in the world of employment law.

The team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors held their latest Top Ten Employment Blunders seminar at their offices in Euston Way, and the event has been hailed as a great success.

Employment Law Specialist, John Mehtam, who led the event, said the latest seminar had been organised specifically to support HR Managers and Managing Directors from the local Telford area.

“Our aim – as always with this kind of seminar – was to give our delegates an insight into the ever-changing UK employment legislation and share our experience of the most common pitfalls.

“We then share our advice to help businesses navigate through the increasingly-complicated minefield of law, to help them learn from other people’s mistakes, and so avoid drawn-out negotiations and expensive errors.

“We covered suggestions on how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance – and perhaps more importantly, we looked at how to avoid these situations and protect your business.

“At Martin-Kaye, we’re committed to delivering effective and appropriate advice that really does make a difference to employers, and our short sharp seminars are designed to get right to the point.”

Mr Mehtam said similar presentations had also proved extremely successful across the wider Shropshire area, Wales, and the West Midlands, and more events were planned for the coming months.

“We were very pleased to see so many new faces at our latest seminar, and it was an excellent opportunity for delegates to meet solicitors from our other departments including commercial litigation, commercial property and corporate law too.

“Thanks to their knowledge and experience, we can deliver support in a whole host of situations that businesses may face, no matter how difficult the circumstances may seem.”

Pic: At the Top 10 Tips seminar are, from left, Martin-Kaye Senior Partner Graham Davies, with Alison Yeomans and Tracy Hinton from Dechra

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Alpha celebrates a 10-year milestone

Legal experts at a Telford firm are celebrating 10 successful years of an initiative that’s reaching clients right across the UK.

The team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, initially launched their ALPHA service – a bespoke employment law and human resources package – after months of intensive research and surveys involving all kinds of businesses.

Senior partner, Graham Davies, said: “We wanted to measure how satisfied local firms were with their HR advisors, as companies were telling us they were becoming increasingly frustrated with the services they were receiving.

“And our survey work showed the support was patchy at best, with the so-called advice delivered over the phone by ‘consultants’. They also felt the advice was tailored to meet insurance company requirements and wasn’t robust enough – they found they were tied into restrictive deals for three to five years too.

“We knew we could do much better than that and identified a real gap in the market, so we spent a year putting together the ALPHA service which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.” www.alpha-hr.co.uk 

Mr Davies said the firm had been continually surprised by the ongoing success of the service which was still growing today.

“From a standing start, hundreds of businesses have signed up to become members, with many here in Shropshire, but an increasing number from further afield and we now have clients from all over the UK. It’s even more satisfying to see that many clients who have been with us from the start of Alpha sign up year on year for an ongoing service as they’ve been so impressed with the support we deliver.”

The ALPHA service is led by John Mehtam, who is Martin-Kaye’s employment law specialist, and he is supported by a team of qualified lawyers who deliver the most appropriate advice in each situation.

“Not only do we provide employment law advice, we provide employment law solutions, and we’re not afraid to make tough and difficult decisions when required,” said Mr Mehtam.

“We work closely with each business to achieve the very best results for their individual circumstances, and we can offer a wide range of support – from a relatively inexpensive package, to setting up a sophisticated virtual HR team, and all without the lengthy tie-in agreements.”

Mr Mehtam said ALPHA members also had the option to take up advice from the wider range of commercial services provided by Martin-Kaye including corporate advice, litigation, and commercial property services.

Pic: Graham Davies, Emma Palmer, and John Mehtam celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ALPHA scheme at Martin-Kaye Solicitors

Friday, 9 June 2017

New nationwide service helps retirement plans

Homeowners looking to boost their finances in readiness for their retirement can now find professional and effective advice right here in Shropshire.

Experts at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, have launched their own nationwide service – www.equishield.co.uk – to offer advice on equity release to help property owners raise much-needed capital.

Simon Wagner is a Partner at Martin-Kaye and has been instrumental in creating and setting up the new service.

“Many ‘baby boomers’ who are now approaching retirement are finding their pension plans are not what they had hoped for. But they are at the time in their lives where they will also probably have a significant amount of equity in their home which can be released to provide additional cash and income.

“Equity release has deservedly had some bad press in the past, but the introduction of a code of conduct – combined with more competitive interest rates and innovative mortgage products – has made it a far more attractive, mainstream product which is growing increasingly popular.

“We have worked with carefully-selected regional firms of solicitors to create a new national network – every firm has agreed to subscribe to the new code of conduct, and they all have vast experience and knowledge of this specialised subject.”

Mr Wagner said: “Retirement should be something to look forward to, but more and more people are retiring with debts they are struggling to repay, or a pension that won’t allow them to maintain their living standards.

“If all other options have been exhausted, equity release can help homeowners to reduce their monthly outgoings by taking out a loan against their property – they then have the option to repay the interest or allow it to roll up and only be repaid when the house is sold.

"But equity release is not the answer for everyone, and homeowners need to be sure it’s right for their individual circumstances – that’s where our Equishield service comes in.”

Mr Wagner said equity release was a specialised area and anyone considering taking this option should seek professional financial advice and independent legal support.

“Through Equishield, we have specialists here at Martin-Kaye who deal purely with equity release cases, so our clients can be assured they will always be seen by an in-house expert and their claim will not be passed on to an agency or sub-contracted out.

“Making the decision to free up finances from the value of your home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly as property owners will need to consider how it will affect the estate they leave behind. But with the right support and expert knowledge, it can be a real solution to making retirement a little more comfortable.”

Pic: Simon Wagner launches the new Equishield service at Martin-Kaye Solicitors

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Call for divorcing parents to take a new approach

Divorcing parents are being urged to put their children first to help them adapt to a new-look family structure.

Nadia Davis is the family law partner at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford, and she is a qualified collaborative lawyer – a legal expert taking a different approach to divorce.

“Previous cases have shown that children do better when their parents are able to remain emotionally strong and supportive during divorce cases. And parents who co-parent in a respectful manner help their children to cope better with this stressful time in a family’s life.”

Ms Davis said the collaborative divorce process encouraged couples and their solicitors to sign an agreement so show they were committed to finding the best solutions through negotiation, rather than through court proceedings.

The agreement prevents the lawyers involved from representing their client in court if the collaborative process breaks down, so everyone is absolutely committed to making it work.

“In a divorce that’s full of conflict, children become increasingly anxious, and the stress can actually lead to depression or troubled behaviour. And taking each other to court can make the process worse, rather than reducing the conflict.

“It’s the same for parents who stay in a turbulent marriage for the sake of the children – you could be creating more stress for the children than if you had a healthy divorce. To help children deal with a dramatic life transition, it’s important that they feel supported and emotionally secure through the difficult times.”

Ms Davis said the collaborative approach gave families the chance to instigate a kinder, gentler and healthier divorce which would be less complicated for everyone involved.

“And because the collaborative process is not driven by a timetable imposed by a court, the whole situation can be built around each family’s individual timetable and priorities. Sometimes only a handful of meeting may be required to resolve the case, so it’s often a much quicker route to take.

“At such a troubling time, it’s understandable that emotions are running high, but as parents, if you can take a sensible and conciliatory tone in your negotiations, your children will benefit all the more.”

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Voting rights are not automatic

Employees don’t have an automatic right to take time out of their working day to vote in the General Election.

That’s the warning from George Heron at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, who said employees should ensure they make the most of the extended opening hours at local polling stations – from 7am to 10pm.

“With such long opening hours, it’s highly unlikely that staff will be unable to attend at some point during the day – so there really is no need for them to be disrupting their working hours.

“And even if they can’t fit in a trip to the polling station outside of work, options such as postal voting or voting by proxy mean an employee would be on shaky ground if they tried to claim their employer was depriving them of their voting rights just by asking them to do their job.”

Mr Heron said if an employee really was struggling to get to the polls, there was nothing to stop an employer coming to an agreement with their staff.

“You may decide to allow them to start their working day slightly later, or they could simply take unpaid time off while they cast their vote. As long as you are consistent, there should be no issues – but you must not allow one employee to take time off to vote and then block another.

“Employers should also be wary of imposing last-minute overtime on staff who may have planned to vote at the end of their shift.”

Mr Heron said though that where trade union elections were concerned, shop stewards and staff representatives had a right to reasonable time off for union duties and activities, but any such time off could be unpaid.

“It’s vital that employers are consistent with how they treat their staff on Election Day, but employees also have to take personal responsibility to ensure they find the time to exercise their democratic right.

“Businesses need to know they can continue to operate normally on the day, without worrying about their operation being short-staffed at crucial times.

“With a turnout of around 60% predicted, around six in ten staff from any one workplace will want to vote, so the polls are open for such a long time to make sure everyone has the opportunity to take part, no matter how busy their day is.”