While you’ll no doubt be pleased that your business has grown to the point that you need to bring in help, you might not be sure about the legal requirements.
The first thing to check when hiring someone is that they have the right to work in the UK. Employers who fail to carry out the necessary immigration checks, as required by law, could face criminal and/or civil penalties.
You should also take up references and get evidence of qualifications, which can help you confirm whether the candidate is right for the vacancy. You may also need to conduct a DBS (criminal record) check. This is a legal requirement in some, though not all, sectors.
When taking on an employee, you are required by law to provide them with a written statement of particulars within eight weeks of them starting the job. This is essentially a summary of the terms and conditions of their employment. It will cover information including an employee’s pay day, salary, holiday entitlement, notice requirements and the procedure for raising a grievance.
It is generally best to incorporate these details into a well drafted, comprehensive contract of employment. You will find that this approach gives you a greater degree of protection – and more flexibility – than a mere statement of particulars.
The clauses you insert will obviously vary depending on the nature of the business and the role concerned, but you may choose to take steps to protect confidential information, allow you to recoup money in the event that the employee is inadvertently overpaid and include a requirement to alter duties or hours of work if the needs of the business change.
You must also ensure that you comply with minimum wage laws - only recently hundreds of businesses were named and shamed by the Government for failing to meet their obligations in this regard.
Other things to bear in mind include Employers’ Liability insurance, registration with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and pension auto-enrolment.
As far as health and safety is concerned, you won’t need to implement a formal policy until you have five or more members of staff – but you still need to ensure you are carrying out the appropriate risk assessments.
While sorting out all of the above might seem daunting, it will be a lot easier when you decide to take on your second employee!