Hiring Employees Starter Kit – Free Download
Our Hiring Employees Starter Kit contains:
- Introduction & Checklist
- Offer of employment
- Right to work checks & Checklist
- Induction checklist
- Contract of Employment
- Staff handbook
Before hiring an employee it is imperative that proper consideration has been given to define the role you are recruiting for and to make sure you have complied with all your legal obligations.
If it is your first time hiring an employee, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) up to four weeks before you pay your first employee. An accountant may be able to assist you with this and it can take up to two weeks to register.
It is a legal requirement for employers to obtain employers liability insurance. Employers liability insurance protects business from paying compensation where an employee is injured or dies at work. Failure to obtain employers liability insurance may result in a fine of £2,500 for each uninsured day.
All employees are entitled to receive minimum wage. This is usually increased every April. Employees must be auto-enrolled in a pension scheme, although they should be informed of how they can withdraw from the scheme.
This guide will inform you of the practical considerations you must think about each time you hire an employee. Following a clear process, including the points raised in this guide, can provide you with protection from disputes and employment tribunal claims. However, this guide is very general and it is recommended that your employment documentation is tailored to your specific business to suit your needs as best as possible.
Offer of employment
An offer of employment should be given to the successful candidate in writing and contain certain information. It is recommended that a job offer states whether it will form part of the candidates terms and conditions of employment. The candidate should be given reasonable time to consider the offer and respond.
Timing of the offer
Making the job offer as soon as possible after a decision has been made will keep the recruitment momentum going and will reduce the chance that the candidate will accept employment elsewhere. However, this should be balanced with the need for time to reflect on each interview and no offer should be made during the interview or immediately after.
Conditional or unconditional offer
By making the job offer conditional, if the conditions are not satisfied the offer can be withdrawn without breaching the contract. The types of conditions usually attached to an offer of employment include:
- Satisfactory references
- Proof of qualifications
- Satisfactory criminal conviction checks where required for the role.
The terms and conditions of the offer
While some terms of employment will be the same for all employees, terms such as salary, seniority and benefits will depend on the role. It is advisable that the remuneration and benefits packages are determined before the vacancy is advertised. An offer of employment should be made in writing and contain certain information such as :
- The name of the candidate
- The job title
- That the letter constitutes a formal job offer
- Any conditions that apply to the offer
- The type of contract e.g. permanent
- The salary
- The hours of work
- The start date
- Any documents required before the commencement of employment, e.g. proof of right to work in the UK
- The arrangement for the first day of employment
Practically many employees will not resign from their current employment until they know their prospective employer agrees they have met the conditions of employment, which may delay their start date. Employers should be mindful of this and process paperwork attached to the conditions as quickly as possible.
As part of the offer of employment it is advisable that, especially where a senior individual is being recruited, that the candidate is asked to disclose any restrictive covenants under their current contract of employment which may prevent them working for another organisation. If there are restrictive covenants in place, the individual may not be able to commence employment while they are subject to them. Alternatively, the new employer may approach the candidate’s current employer and negotiate a reduction in the length of the restrictive covenants.
Right to work checks
It is unlawful for employers to hire someone who does not have the right to live and work in the UK, or where working would be a breach of their conditions of stay. Therefore, an employer should check an individual has the right to work in the UK before they commence employment and a job offer should be conditional on the applicant having the right to work in the UK.
Employers must take an active approach to comply with the prevention of illegal working by complying with the following obligations:
- Conducting “right to work” checks on all prospective employees before the commencement of their employment.
- Conducting follow up checks on employees who have time-limited permission to live and work in the UK.
- Keeping an up to date record of the checks they have conducted.
- Not employing an individual they know, or have reasonable cause to believe does not have the right to work in the UK.
To conduct a right to work check an employer should:
- Require the candidate to produce original documents showing they have the right to work in the UK (e.g. their passport and were applicable their visa); or
- Conduct an online check, where the candidate has shared their right to work details using the Home Office service where the candidate:
- Has a biometric residence permit number;
- Has a biometric residence card number; or
- Has been granted settled status under the EU settlement scheme.
Employers should check the photo is of the candidate and that the document is valid and in date.
If an employer is sponsoring a worker under the point based system, it must comply with the sponsor management system requirements.
A employer who breaches the obligations above may be liable for a large civil penalty where they employ an individual who does not have the right to undertake the work for which they are employed and would be committing a criminal offence where they employ an individual they know or had “reasonable cause to believe” did not have the right to work in the UK.
Right to work checks must be conducted before a new employee’s induction or on their first day of employment. It is recommended that right to work checks are conducted between the time the job offer is made and the start date. If they cannot be carried out during this time, the new starter may be asked to come to the workplace before their official start time on their first day in order for the checks to be carried out. To avoid discrimination, right to work checks should be carried out for all potential employees.
It is recommended that employers conduct right to work checks on every individual they engage, regardless of the capacity they are engaged in, including, employees, workers and contractors. An employer who uses agency staff should make it clear, ideally in the contract, that the agency remains the employer and is responsible for conducting right to work checks.
Contract of Employment
Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee must be given a written statement of the terms of their employment before the date their employment commences. This is usually contained in an employee’s contract of employment.
The Employment Tribunal understands that there is an inequality in bargaining power between the parties to an employment contract. An employer is usually in a stronger position to dictate the terms. As a result, the Employment Tribunal will look beyond the contract to the day-to-day relationship of the parties should a dispute arise. Therefore, the contract should reflect the true nature of the relationship and each parties obligations.
Type of contract of employment
There are three categories of employment contracts:
1.Fixed term: a fixed term contract will end on a particular date or on the completion of a specific task.
2.Permanent: a permanent contract can only be terminated by either party giving the required notice as stated in the contract.
3.Casual: under a casual contract the individual is not obliged to accept any work they are offered and there is no obligation on the organisation to offer work to the individual.
An express term is one that has been explicitly agreed by the parties. While express terms can be agreed orally or in writing, it is recommended that all agreed terms are contained within the contract of employment. As of April 2020, employment contracts must include:
- The employer’s name
- The employee or worker’s name
- The start date and the date that the employee’s ‘continuous employment’ commenced
- The job title, or brief job description
- The employee’s address and the address at which they shall work
- The salary, how often and when it will be paid
- The hours and days the employee is required to work and if they are variable
- Holiday entitlement and holiday pay and any other paid leave they are entitled to
- The amount of sick leave and pay the employee is entitled to
- Any benefits they are entitled to, i.e. company car
- The amount of notice required to terminate the contract or how long the job is expected to last
- Details of the employee’s probationary period
- Whether the employee will be required to work abroad and any terms that will apply when abroad
- Details of any training that must be completed
Implied terms are those that have not been set out at the time the parties entered in to the contract of employment. In common law, these terms are ones that are so obvious they are not required to be included in the contract as they are assumed to have been incorporated, for example the duty of trust and confidence between the parties. It should be noted that a Tribunal will not imply a term because it is reasonable to do so, it will only be implied when the Tribunal can conclude it was the intention of the parties at the time the contract was entered into.
Signing the contract
For a there to be a binding contract of employment, there must be intention to create legal relations. Therefore, it is advisable that new employees are required to sign and return a copy of their employment contract before their employment commences, to show intention. A copy of the signed contract of employment should be kept on the employee’s personal file.
Policies which are included in a staff handbook are to set out the standard of behaviour expected by staff, assist with the running of the Business and to protect the employer by making sure the legal rights associated with the employment relationship are understood.
Well written staff handbooks provide employees, managers and directors with clear guidance explaining their rights and responsibilities. A staff handbook is different to a contact of employment and is usually non-contractual. The benefit of having non-contractual policies is that a breach of contract claim cannot be brought if they are not followed and they do not usually require employees to consent to the amendments.
A good way to start a staff handbook is to provide an introduction to the business. This can set the tone of the workplace and detail the culture, values and objectives of the business.
There is a minimum requirement of information an employer must give their employees in writing to inform them of their legal rights and how to assert their rights . The following policies are usually contained within the staff handbook:
- Disciplinary procedure
- Grievance procedure
- Sickness absence
- Heath and safety
- Whistle blowing
- Data protection
In addition to the above there are policies that are not mandatory but their inclusion may assist in meeting other legal obligations or the policies would assist in the smooth running of the business as they are sector specific. Therefore, businesses may consider including the following:
- Equal opportunities
- Family leave, such as maternity, paternity and adoption.
Staff handbooks should be industry specific and tailored for each individual business. If the business is regulated or certain acts are required for insurance compliance, this should be detailed in the staff handbook.
When a new employee starts, it is recommended that the employer has a procedure in place to ensure the new starter has all the information they require and know the standards expected of them.
The impression an employee gets when they commence work for a new organisation can have a lasting impact on how the employer is viewed. Therefore, a welcoming and informative experience, making a positive impression, is likely to aid the employee with settling into their new position.
The best inductions are achieved through good planning with various members of the employer who the new starter will come into contact with.
The length, nature and content of an induction will depend on the job role and size of the employer. Therefore, a one size fits all approach should not be taken. However, the following are issues that should be addressed as part of an employee’s induction:
- Confirmation that the employee has received all paper work, including their contract of employment and staff handbook. This is also an opportunity to ensure the employer has received a signed copy of the contract of employment and the employee’s P60 which is likely to be required for payroll purposes. At this stage the employer should also ask the employee to confirm their address and emergency contact information. It is also appropriate for the employer to invite the employee to disclose any other information such as allergies and illnesses so that first aiders and occupation health may be informed.
- Health and safety training: New employees should be informed about the location of fire exits and alarms. If the employee shall be working remotely, a remote risk assessment should be conducted to highlight any equipment the employee may require.
- Training on equal opportunities, bullying and harassment: The employee should be informed that the employer does not tolerate discrimination, bullying or harassment and that allegations of such acts shall be taken seriously and inline with company policies. If this information is not provided during the induction, it should be provided to the employee at the next relevant training session.
- Training on data protection, privacy and the use of IT: The employee should be instructed on how to ensure they do not breach data protection legislation and how to use the employer’s IT system or when training will be provided for any software used.
- Probationary period: The employee should be informed probationary period review meetings.
- Job specific training: For example where the employee is required to wear protective equipment, they should be shown how to use it correctly.
- The employee should be informed about how they may raise concerns and complaints.
- An introduction to the wider team.
A record should be kept of all training the employee has received.
In situations where more than one new starter is arriving, it can be beneficial to co-ordinate inductions so that where appropriate, training can be done together. Not only is this effective for the employer but will help the new starters build relationships.
It is not only new staff that should receive an inductions. Where a employee has moved to an internal role or is returning to work after a period of absence, conducting an induction can provide the employee with invaluable information on changes to procedure or technology.
About Davenport Solicitors
Davenport Solicitors is an award-winning law firm based in London, specialising in Employment Law, Business Immigration and HR Support.
As a niche law firm, with a team of highly experienced employment law and business immigration specialists, we can deliver professional yet personable advice tailored to your needs and support you at every stage. With us on your side, you can resolve employment issues in a hassle-free manner and achieve the best possible outcome.
We understand the needs of today’s modern business and look at the practical application of the law when giving advice. Our goal is always to best protect our clients through a commercially pragmatic approach.
We are committed to providing you with the highest standard of business immigration advice, whilst also maintaining costs. That is why we operate as a fixed-fee law firm.
We also offer fixed-fee monthly HR Support packages to enable our clients to precent issues from occurring, protecting the should they arise, allowing them to prosper.