10 Things You Must Do When Hiring An Employee.

1. Carry out checks on the applicant

Once you have found a suitable candidate for the position there are checks that must be completed.

  • Right to work checks are legal requirement (ask the candidate to show you their passport or birth certificate or relevant visa.  More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk
  • Check that the candidate has the necessary qualifications as stated on their CV or at interview, you can ask the candidate to provide copies of their certificates.  This applies to any qualification such as academic qualifications or a Fork lift truck driving licence.  If it is relevant to your business, it is important to get the evidence.

Where necessary (i.e. care industry or working with children) ask the candidate to complete the DBS checks process as soon as possible

2.    Make Offer and Get Acceptance

Send a written offer letter to the candidate. This document provides the employee with the conditions of employment, ask the candidate to reply in writing or email to accept the offer. If you have a period of time before the candidates start date make sure you keep in touch with them, ‘to keep them warm’, this is important for letting the new candidate know that you are looking forward to them joining the business.  Let them know what will happen on their first day, and what to expect for the first weeks of employment. 

3.    Provide a Contract of Employment

This contract outlines the employee’s rights, responsibilities, and working conditions.  The ‘principal statement’ must include the following details as a minimum, and can be included on an employment letter, a written employment contract, or as a separate document.

  • Name of the employer.
  • Name of the employee.
  • Job title and description.
  • Rate of pay, and payday details.
  • Working hours.
  • Start date.
  • Holiday entitlement (including public holidays).
  • Where the job is located.
  • Notice periods.
  • End date (if fixed term contract)
  • Information related to any collective agreements.
  • Pension arrangements.
  • Who to contact if you have a grievance

4.     Make sure your business is adequately insured

To protect your business from claims made by employees who have been injured or fallen ill at the workplace. You must take out adequate Employers’ Liability Insurance cover due to the terms of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

5.    Register as an employer with HMRC

In almost all cases, you must register as an employer with HMRC within four weeks of taking on your first employee. As an employer, you will be responsible for paying your staff a salary and deducting any PAYE (income tax) and National Insurance Contributions from staff salaries.

6.    Payments

When you pay your staff, you have to provide each employee with a payslip which details their gross and net pay, income tax and NICs deducted, and any other deductions (such as pensions contributions).

Since the implementation of the RTI (Real Time Information) regime in 2013, you must also submit payroll data to HMRC each time you pay your staff. Previously, this information needed to be provided at the end of each tax year.

You must also comply with the National Minimum Wage legislation. Go to https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates to find out the current rates of pay.

7.    Pension auto-enrolment

New legislation means that employers must enrol their staff into a workplace pension scheme if they are aged 22 or over and earn at least £10,000 or more. (2018)

For more information go to https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/finance/pension-service which has a great pension set up service for small businesses.

8.    Holiday entitlement, parental leave, sick pay, maternity / paternity pay

Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid leave per year this is applicable to all employees including zero hours contractors, this includes bank holidays. This is calculated by working out how much of the year the employee will work and how many hours per week they work on average.

There are various rights for parents including paternity, maternity, parental leave, adoption leave.  Make sure you familiarise yourselves with these in advance to avoid infringement of employment law.

9.    Health and Safety

You will be responsible for providing your employees with a safe and secure environment to work in.

You don’t need a formal written H&S policy unless you have five or more employees, however you should take time to assess the risks your staff face at work and manage accordingly. Provide safe systems of work, training and protective equipment.

10.    Engage Your Employee

Remember first impressions count, and for this reason it is important to start off well with your new employees.  Being organised for their first day, having their contract of employment ready and being able to answer their questions regarding their employment, having their email set up and access to any IT systems are a good start.

People generally want to feel useful as soon as possible so make sure you have planned their work for the first week and month, give them a feel for the business introduce them to all significant people that they will be dealing with, start any required training as soon as possible.  

It is commonly known that one of the main reasons people leave their job is because they didn’t like their boss, so have this is mind. 

Give regular feedback and deal with any issues immediately, this prevents the niggles from becoming big problems and aid an open and honest working relationship.

There’s no doubt about it, being an employer can be a challenge, it can also be rewarding and greatly beneficial to your business when good employees are in place.  An engaged workforce is a valuable asset, but they will ongoing management.

At Blue Tree HR Solutions, we aim to help business owners manage their employee with minimal hassle.

If you require support with managing new employees or any ongoing staff issues, please get in touch.

Our service is completely flexible in order to suit your company, please get in touch for further information 01787 695084 or melanie@bluetreehr.uk

Working with an apprentice…. What you need to know

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As well as providing quality HR services and solutions, we at Blue Tree HR Solutions also provide insight into matters that may affect your business. In this blog, we take a look at apprenticeships.

With 16-year-olds now legally required to stay in some form of education until they are 18, and with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, apprenticeship schemes are a popular choice for young people and business owners alike.

So, what do you need to consider?

  • Training
  • Contracts of employment
  • Salary
  • Employment law
  • Managing expectations

There are many apprenticeship scheme providers who will support businesses with the provision of training – these ensure you have the apprentice attending relevant training and will achieve a registered qualification. So, having that part sorted – what do you need to do in the workplace?

Contracts of employment

All employees should have a contract of employment and apprentices will require a specific apprentice contract.  This will state all the terms of employment as well as your expectations of them during their training course.

An apprenticeship contract is generally a temporary contract – the time depends on the course provided and the qualification being achieved.


The current minimum wage rate in the UK for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour (2018), increasing to £3.90 (April 2019), this is the legal minimum. This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Apprentices must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for their age if they are an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed their first year.

However, you will need to consider if you are paying them correctly to avoid failing to meet the minimum wage requirements.

  • Any overtime will need to be paid
  • Travel time to a different place of work will need to be covered i.e. If you are a mobile business such as a videographer or care worker.

Employment law regarding Young Persons (Under 18)

Making sure you avoid infringement of employment law is vital.  One set of regulations that is quite different for young people is the Working Time Directive:

  1. Young people must not work for more than eight hours a day and 40 hours each week.
  2. Generally, night work is not allowed for young people.
  3. Legally require rest breaks and rest periods must be granted.

With regards to health and safety, a risk assessment will be required to decide whether additional steps need to be taken to control the risks to young people and regulations specifically state that you must not employ a young person for certain types of hazardous work.

Managing Expectations

Having just taken on your apprentice – this person who has recently left school and has very limited work experience – how do you progress to a good working relationship with a valued member of staff who can be trusted and relied upon?

Firstly – be prepared for their first days and make a plan for their induction period.  Who will they work with, report to, what do they need to do, follow?  Make a good first impression with your new staff and you will reap benefits.

Make sure they know exactly what you need them to do and how you want them to do it. 

The key is having regular catch-up meetings and reviewing your apprentices’ progress throughout their employment.  Providing regular feedback is imperative.  Generation Zers (under 22-year-olds) have grown up in a world with constant feedback, star charts and reports.  For them to know what you expect and having feedback is fundamental to forming a good working relationship.

Why bother?

Employers have to invest a lot of time and money in apprenticeship programmes, the good news is – when done correctly it will provide a positive impact.

Having apprentices is a great way to grow your team while keeping staff costs down and the training providers help you with the entire process this includes recruiting an apprentice, customising a training programme and accessing funding.

Also, it’s a great way to provide your team with new skills and energy at the same time as giving a young person a career opportunity.

Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding managing young people in the workplace, or have any other queries that could benefit from expert HR advice for small businesses. As the best freelance HR consultant Essex can offer, we also specialise in ad hoc HR and retained HR support for small businesses.