top of page


Help! I'm a new employer!

You've just employed your very first employee. Great! But what next?

In this article, we'll look at the basics of employment, and how to manage your workforce effectively.

Open up your Paye Scheme

This is kind of important (well, imperative really).

The absolute first thing to do is to register as an employer with HMRC, here's the link:

Regardless of whether you're the sole director of a limited company, or have your first employee as a sole trader, you still need to register.

The contract

Each employee is entitled to receive a contract of employemnt on either their first day of work, or before they start work.

This should reflect the type of working relationship that you require, along wth the day-to-day aspects of working. For example, if you want them to work a zero-hours contract then it must state exactly that.

This can be an onerous task, so please do seek advice if you're unsure, the links are at the end of the blog.

Flexible working

Whilst we're loosely on the contact side of things, it's work pointing out that employees can request to work fliexibly at any point, but will have a legal right to request flexible working fter 26 weeks' service.

Examples of flexible working include:

  • Hybrid working

  • Job sharing

  • Compressed hours

  • Different start and finish times

Some employers will find this very easy to implement, others may not. For example, an electrical contractor would not be able to fulfil a request for hybrid working (working both from home and on-site), whereas a team of solicitors would find this to be quite practical.

Workplace pensions

Automatic enrolment is pretty standard nowadays, and most employers have some kind of scheme set up.

Employees can contribute from day one, but can also postpone their contributions for up to three months.

Tip: Check the pension regulator's online tool for new staff.


With the introduction of National Minimum Wage, this can be a minefield for some employers.

Tip: All employees and workers must be paid the National Minimum Wage, and for those over 23, the National Living Wage.

The current NMW is between £5.28 and £10.18 per hour, and the NLW is £10.42 per hour.

Holiday entitlement

This can be confusing to some employers, but in a nutshell:

Most employers have their 'holiday year' as either:

  • The financial year of the business (the dates at which the financial year of the business start and finish

  • Or the fiscal year (ie from 1st April to 31st March)

The other decision that employers have to make is how the holiday pay is calcuated. Is it:

  • accrued in one year, to be used the next?

  • Or is it accrued and used in the same year?

  • Is it based upon a percentage of hours worked (popular with those in the hospitality industry working irregular hours),

Regardless of the method of calculation, all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks' paid holiday per year, and this starts to accrue from the moment an employee starts working with you.

Bank holidays may be included in this figure, or they may be additional. Again, that's an employer choice, to be included in the contract.

Statutory payments

Statutory payments are best described as 'a group of defined payments which are required to be paid for a range of different absences including:

  • Maternity pay

  • Paternity pay

  • Sick pay

  • Adoption pay

Let's look at them in turn:

Maternity Pay

All employees have the right to 52 weeks' statutory maternity leave, and have the right to 39 weeks maternity pay, subject to eligibility criteria.

Paternity Pay

The level of statutory paternity pay and leave is currently set at 2 weeks.

Adoption leave

This is currently identical to maternity leave, with 52 weeks' leave being available, 39 of which are paid.

Sick pay

You can currently pay your employees £109.40 per week if they're too ill to work, (I remember the days when it was £79!), and you can make this payment for 28 week, after which your employee will have to claim it back from HMRC.

The worker has to be sick for at least 4 days in a row before they can claim this.

Interesting fact: You cannot count a day as a sick day if the employee works one minute or more before they go home feeling unwell. Their first day of sickness in this case would be the day after.


Knowing just a little bit about your responsibilites as an employer will make things much easier as your business grows.

Here's some handy links:



bottom of page