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Employing for the first time

Taking on staff is a big commitment that you want to get right.

New staff typically use up time and money. You need to recruit and train them and understand your legal obligations towards them.

As an employer you’ll have to ensure your employees pay the correct tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) using the PAYE (Pay as you Earn) system. You will also have to make your own payment of Employers National Insurance, an additional cost for every employee you take on and should be planned into your budget.

Before you start looking for a new employee, it’s worth considering what the best solution is to meet your need. If you have a short-term requirement you might be better off getting help from a freelance or consultant and if you do decide to recruit, you might just want a temporary worker – perhaps from an agency – or someone to work part-time. You will also need to be clear about what you want the person to do and what skills they will need.

  1. Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.
  2. Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.
  3. Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, eg with vulnerable people or security.
  4. Get employment insurance – you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
  5. Send details of the job (including terms and conditions) in writing to your employee. You need to give your employee a written statement of employment if you’re employing someone for more than 1 month.
  6. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer – you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.
  7. workie small employersCheck if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.(Download a booklet from the Pensions Regulator about Auto Enrolment here the-essential-guide-for-automatic-enrolment) (Click here to go to the page on this site that gives a more complete overview of Auto Enrolment and workplace pensions)
  8. www.tpr.gov.uk/employerswww.tpr.gov.uk/employers Read Pensions Regulator’s article May 16 Article for employers – May 16 – Update from The Pensions Regulator


Other legal obligations as an employer include things such as:

  • Operating a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system to deduct tax and National Insurance from your employees wages, and pay employers National Insurance *
  • Understanding sickness, maternity and paternity pay, Working Time regulations and annual leave entitlement.
  • Health & Safety

You may need to write employment policies so that you and your employees are clear on how your business operates.

Links on the right hand side of this page provide more guidance and information.

*You may wish to operate the PAYE scheme yourself. It’s fairly easy if you have time and a small number of employees. However you could choose to pay an agent to do it on your behalf, many accountants offer PAYE and payroll services.

Related links

Employing for the first time:

Information on the national Government website

Guidance on getting started and where to register as an employer

Access online advice seminars with HM Revenue & Customs

See guidance on employing, managing and disciplining staff on the ACASwebsite:-

Guidance on getting started with Workplace Pensions (Click here to go to the page on this site that gives a more complete overview of Auto Enrolment and workplace pensions)


Support and information for GP’s, employers and employees on staff sickness