Becoming an employer

This has to be one of the most exciting but daunting times you’ll go through as a business owner; taking on your first member of staff. But, CONGRATULATIONS! Your business has grown sufficiently, or you’re opening the doors and it’s time to staff the business.

This blog isn’t about how to recruit, as I’ve already covered that here but will cover what you’ll need to consider, what you need to do and what documents you need in place.


Firstly, you need a great accountant who will prepare your payroll for you. Don’t try and do this yourself as it’s far more complicated than you think – take it from someone who’s tried it! You’d need to understand how tax codes impact someone’s deductions and not to mention the obligations on RTI reporting now. You’ll also need to register as an employer with the HMRC. Just get an accountant!


You probably have insurances already, public liability insurance, professional indemnity etc. But you’ll now need to make sure that you’re insured as an employer with Employers Liability Insurance and you’ll need to be insured for at least £5 million. Get a reputable insurance broker to assist you with getting the right cover for your business, depending on it’s activities and that of your staff and getting the best value for money!


You’ll need to decide what to pay your staff and this can be quite a scary thought. You need to avoid the ‘pay peanuts, get monkey’s’ scenario without overpaying. Do some research, or get a specialist involved to help you. You’ll need to ensure that you’re paying in line with the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage depending on the age of the successful candidate.

Contract of Employment

As soon as you take on your first employee you’ll need to ensure that terms and conditions of employment are provided in writing. If this isn’t provided to the employee within 8 weeks of the employee starting you’re breaking the law. There are minimum inclusions for the contract of employment, but don’t just rely on this to ‘tick a box’. The contract of employment should protect your business completely and you’ll need to ensure that this is drafted properly. Take a look at our blog post here to see what I mean.


All employers are now obligated to abide with the automatic enrolment regulations for pensions. If you’re just starting to think about taking on your first employee your staging date will probably be 1st November 2018 but if you’re not hiring until later this year, it could be pushed back to early 2018. However, automatic enrolment is a complex process and you should start planning for this at least 12 months in advance so get in touch with a great Independent Financial Advisor now to start the conversation early.

Health & Safety

This is one of the most important things you need to do as an employer to ensure that staff are working in a safe environment. If you have under 5 employees you don’t have to have a written health and safety policy, but you might want to consider doing so as an educational to staff regarding their obligations. You do have to conduct a risk assessment of the working environment and of the working practices. You also need to display the Health & Safety At Work poster which you can order directly from the HSE or from most stationary suppliers.

This might seem like a frightening list of red tape and legislation but don’t be put off by it. It’s important and necessary but there are specialists out there to help you ensuring that you can concentrate on running your business.

If you are an employer and need assistance with staff and employment matters, talk to Cheryl at PeakHR. We offer competitive rates and cater specifically for small employers.

Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.

#newstaff #recruitment #employees #employmentlaw #smallbusiness #growingbusiness #smallbusinesses #humanresources #workplace #businessconsultancy

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