Employer obligations

Published 24 August 10

Employers have responsibilities and obligations towards full-time and part-time employees, some of which may not apply until after a minimum period of continuous employment.

Employers of workers employed under a Contract of Employment - in essence most employed people - tend to have legal responsibility for paying their workers' income tax through the Pay As You Earn system (PAYE) and also for paying their National Insurance contributions. For advice on this see Business Link

Employees are entitled by law to receive:

  • A written statement of the main terms and conditions of their contract of employment.
  • An itemised pay statement at or before the time of payment.
  • A minimum amount of paid holiday.
  • A maximum length of working week (with provision for opting-out).
  • Minimum levels of rest breaks.
  • At least the national minimum wage, and if employed directly in agriculture, a minimum wage as stipulated by the Agricultural Wages Board.
  • Statutory Sick Pay if they are off sick for more than three days. (Farm workers may also be entitled to Agricultural Wages Sick Pay).
  • Maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave if they are pregnant, or are about to or have recently become a parent.

Employers must also:

  • Every employer with at least one member of staff must enroll those who are eligible into a workplace pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called automatic enrolment.
  • Provide a safe and secure working environment.
  • Be insured to protect against claims for any illnesses, injuries or diseases employees may pick up in the course of their employment.
  • Register as an employer with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to set up a payroll, deducting tax and National Insurance contributions from employees' pay.
  • Consider any requests from parents with children of age 16 or under to be able to work more flexibly.
  • Treat employees fairly and avoid discrimination, particularly if they have to be dismissed, made redundant or if the business is sold.

Further help and advice on the issues surrounding being an employer