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Small and first-time employers needlessly relying on friends and family for legal advice

Almost a third of small businesses say that the biggest hurdle to setting up a business, and overcome once in business, is understanding and fulfilling their legal obligations as employers.

A huge proportion of respondents, some 85 per cent, said that they knew 'very little' about their legal obligations, according to the survey by Aviva.

But when it comes to getting advice, almost two in five rely on advice from family friends, instead of seeking out professional advice.

The findings chimed with recent Acas research that found 35 per cent of employees head to a friend or family member for advice in case of a problem at work.

Young employees are particularly likely to go to friends and family, with more than half (52 per cent) of 15 to 24 year olds doing so, compared with 25 per cent of those aged over 55.

Free expert advice from Acas

'It's only natural to want to consult with your family and friends but advice from professional experts can save time and money, helping small business owners with practical solutions, learnt from similar experiences in other businesses,' Angus Eaton of Aviva said.

Acas has expert, impartial advice, information and guidance available for free for employers and employees alike, no matter the size of the business.

Acas particularly wants to help small businesses and first-time employers understand their obligations and find their way in employment relations. Acas offers a range of at-your-fingertips services on common themes and issues, from contracts to disputes to leave and absence management.

Acas publications and services

Acas has free Help for small firms, including eight step-by-step guides with clear advice on how to get the best out of your employees while meeting your obligations as an employer.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and give you bespoke support to help you overcome the challenges you and your employees face. Contact the customer services team on 0300 123 1150 for more information about Acas Business solutions.

Acas training is ideal for small firms, covering essential areas such as Dispute resolution, Recruitment, People management, Performance management and Employing People - A Practical Introduction, with everything you need to know about the fundamentals of being an employer.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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