10th Feb 2015

Taking on staff? A guide for new employers

We all want to grow our business in different ways.Whether that be increasing sales and revenue, securing new customers and clients, or one day moving to bigger, better premises.

However, what about the team around you?When it comes to taking that next step, many businesses find the prospect of taking on staff daunting, with the endless red tape to comply with and underlying fear of what happens if it doesn’t work out.

Whilst people have the potential to be one of your biggest liabilities and headaches, they can also be your biggest asset and help your business grow to where you want it.

To help you and your business take that next step, here’s our quick guide to what you need to know when taking on a new member of staff:

  1. Recruit the right people
    It sounds obvious, but get this right and it could be the best investment you ever make.Do your best to assess what your business actually needs.This means planning ahead, drafting a job description of the job you want performed, together with a list of all the personal qualities and skills required.If needed, work with contacts in your network, specialist employment and recruitment agencies to help you find the right person for the job.
  2. Pay the right rates
    Find out what the going rate is and think about what you can afford.From day one, you must pay your employee at least the national minimum wage.These wage rates are reviewed and set down by government each October.
  3. Pre-employment checks
    Make sure you check that your new recruit is legally entitled to work in the UK.You may have to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a profession that requires one, for example when working with vulnerable people, or in security.
  4. Get proper insurance
    You must get employers’ liability insurance from an authorised insurer, as soon as you become an employer.This will help you pay compensation if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of the work they do for you.Be warned, you can be fined up to £2,500 for every day you are not insured.
  5. Sort out the employment contract
    This is one of the most important first steps for new employers.If employing someone for more than 1 month, you must provide your new employees with a written statement of terms and conditions (or simply known as an employment contract), within two months of him or her starting work.Failure to do so could lead to a claim against you of up four weeks’ pay.

    The contract forms the basis of the employment relationship and sets out what is expected from both parties at the outset, avoiding misunderstanding at a later date.It will include key terms such as job title and job description, hours of work, pay, holiday entitlement, sick leave, notice periods and pension arrangements, amongst others.

    You can have different types of employment contract, such as permanent, part time or fixed term, depending on the needs of your business and the employee.
  6. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
    You normally need to register as an employer with HMRC when you start employing staff.You must register up to 4 weeks before the first payday and can do this online (via the www.gov.uk website).

    If you require assistance or advice on any of the above, you can contact Mike Patterson of Berwins’ Employment Team on 01423 542778 to discuss competitive fixed fee packages appropriate for your business.

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