The responsibilities that come with being an employer

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There are a whole host of responsibilities that accompany being an employer, some of the main ones are highlighted below

In the South East, with many of us having second homes, overseas properties, flats for our offspring, or just large estates or gardens that need tending, we may unwittingly have ended up with an army of extra staff on our home payroll - the equivalent of a small business! Even engaging a nanny, carer or an au pair may have inadvertently made you an employer.

Personal Liability

If you are an employer, you will need to have your own employers’ liability insurance. This is separate to any public liability insurance or professional indemnity insurance maintained by a nanny. It is very important to have this insurance in place before you start employing someone, as you can be fined £2,500 for every day that you are not properly insured. You could try speaking to your household insurers or an independent broker to get this cover put in place.

Apart from the risk of being fined, insurance is important as you will normally be held personally liable for any accidents or illness suffered by your employee in the course of their employment with you. Without the insurance, you run the risk of paying any damages and legal costs out of your own pocket.

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Employers must have in place sufficiently detailed contracts of employment with their staff. In addition, it may be necessary or appropriate to carry out checks via the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau). These areas can be complex: for example, did you know that depending on the age and earnings of your employee(s), you may be obliged to establish a workplace pension scheme for them, automatically enrol them into it and make a minimum level of contributions to it? Do you pay your staff the national living wage? Are you providing your staff with at least the minimum amount of paid annual holiday each year? Are you aware of your employees’ rights to sick pay, maternity pay or redundancy pay?

Considerations for “New Employers”

As a new employer, you must ensure that you:

• Check that your employee has the right to work in the UK by reviewing identification documents

• Have employer’s liability insurance

• Apply for a DBS check, if appropriate

• Register as an employer with HMRC and set up and run payroll (or pay someone else, such as a payroll company, to do it on your behalf)

• Deduct and pay the employee’s income tax and national insurance contributions, shown on regular payslips

• Pay employer’s national insurance contributions • Pay your employee at least the national living wage (or the national minimum wage for younger staff)

• Give your employee a written contract within two months of their start date

• Do not require your employee to work more than the maximum number of hours and days allowed, and provide regular rest breaks

Andy Williams is an employment lawyer with significant experience in all types of employment law issues, situations and disputes. For further information, please contact Andy on 01483 252560 |

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