Are you considering hiring staff to work alongside you for the first time? If the answer is yes, realise there are many elements involved in this decision. At the forefront is making sure the timing is right. Taking too large a leap of faith (too soon), because you are envisioning certain success, may very well end up depleting vital capital and affecting the livelihoods of those you’ve employed.
If you are a partnership, shared duties can be a real asset when all parties contribute needed skills. Startup owners should know that the step to hiring staff is something not to be taken lightly, unless they have more business than the partners can handle alone. Of course, if you plan to employ a management team because the industry is not within your wheelhouse of expertise, that’s a different story.
Your Legal Resources
Before you take the plunge toward hiring staff, it’s always in your best interest to consult a solicitor knowledgeable with the laws and regulations for a business. Taking this step will ensure that all of your small business legal documents – such as contracts and policies – are tailored to your specific industry, location and business structure.
There are several legalities to be dealt with before hiring staff, such as: verifying a person’s legal right to work in the UK and determining whether they require a DBS check through the Disclosure and Barring Service. You must also handle your legal requirements to acquire employers’ liability insurance, register with the HMRC as a new employer, and meet your obligation to send a written statement of employment to anyone you plan to employ for more than a month.
There is a plethora of employment resource material, law and business regulatory outlines available. Effective relationships in the workplace are supported by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), which also offers basic training and bespoke courses in everything from recruitment to conflict management.
Available Hiring Options
No matter which payment option you decide upon, as an employer you must comply with the minimum wage laws. The current National Minimum Wage is £6.50 per hour, though this amount does vary for apprentices and those under the age of 21.
When hiring staff, understand that workers are entitled to minimum wages whether they are part-time, casual labourers, employed through an agency, home-based workers, apprentices, trainees, disabled, seafarers, agricultural, offshore or foreign workers.
‘Working time’ consists of hours spent at the job (other than breaks), as well as travelling in connection with the required work or training sessions. You should also note that contracts defining the pay at below the minimum wage are not binding.
Time Work – Your workers are paid by the total number of hours they actually work. The average hourly must be at least minimum wage.
Salaried Hours – This worker is paid either for a basic number of hours under their annual contract, or weekly/monthly based on an annual salary.
Piece Work – These workers are paid per task and their work is classed as ‘output work.’ They must be paid at minimum wage for hours they spend to complete the job, or by ‘fair rate’ for the piece work they perform. If you want to set the hours, requiring them to clock in and out, you must use the rules for Time Work.
Unmeasured Work – This commissioned task doesn’t fit under the other classifications. Here, you are paying someone to do a specific job for a fixed amount, regardless of time spent. Again, this work must still average out to at least minimum wage or be spelled out in an agreement of daily average hours.
Daily Average Agreement of Hours – The employer signs a written agreement with the worker, describing the number of hours the work should take on average each day. The hours worked must be realistic for the task given.