Taking on your first employee

Taking on your first employee can be really exciting but if you haven't had to think about issues such as employment law before it can be daunting! Here are our top tips to help you.

1. Issue an employment contract

You'll need to draft an employment contract for your new employee and give it to them within the first two months of employment – it's a legal requirement!

You may want to search for a template online to help you get you started or you may prefer to get a HR professional to assist you with this to ensure it is legally compliant and up to date!

2. Consider putting a handbook in place

While it's not essential in law, it's a good idea to think about putting employment policies in place. A handbook not only ensures that you have a written record of how you expect your employees to behave at work, but it can help protect your business too.

3. Check that your employee has the right to work in the UK

If you don't properly check your new employee's right to work in the UK and it is later found that they don't have the appropriate immigration status, you could be liable for a fine of up to £20,000. ‘Obtain', ‘check', and ‘copy' are the three key words you need to remember here:

  • Obtain the right documents – more details on these can be found here.
  • Check that the documents are valid and not forgeries, to the best of your ability.
  • Copy the relevant pages with all the identifying information you need and keep them on file.

4. Provide new employees with a company induction

Staff inductions are an important part of taking on your first employee. A company induction should also give a new employee all the information and tools they need to succeed in the role. You should include basic information and details about how you expect them to carry out their role. It's also important to give new employees the chance to ask you any questions they might have!

5. Don't forget about health and safety!

Remember that as an employer, you have a legal requirement to keep your staff as safe as possible and to take the necessary steps to minimise any risks there might be to them at work. You are also legally obliged to display a H&S Poster from the Health and Safety Executive and to have a first aid kit in the workplace. If you have more than five staff members, you will also need to have a written H&S policy in place.

It's a good idea to talk new employees through the health and safety procedures that you have in place as part of their induction. You should be able to demonstrate that you have safe systems of work in place and that your employees understand them.

If you have any questions or would prefer Highfield HR to support you with this process please email [email protected] to book a free consultation.