Employing people

There are certain legal obligations you must meet when employing staff. It is important you understand them to ensure your business is operating professionally and within the law.

For starters, here is a guide to getting ready to take on staff. If you are taking on staff for the first time, here is a list of the 7 things you need to know.

There is also advice in the shape of HMRC's webinars, e-learning material, emails and videos, while the government website also offers detailed information on the areas you need to consider, including:

Contracts of employment and working hours

Includes information on flexible working, night-time working, Sunday working, overtime, rest breaks, dealing with bullying and harassment, preventing discrimination and more.

Dismissing staff and redundancies

Covering issues like employment tribunals, making someone redundant, calculating redundancy pay, handling staff resignations, solving workplace disputes, taking disciplinary action against an employee and whistleblowing.

Health and safety at work

Including fire safety, the law around smoking at work, workplace temperatures, health and safety when using farm vehicles and machinery, any adjustments needed for disabled employees and health and safety when running a business from home.

Mental health in the workplace

Mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence. Tackling mental health in the workplace is just as important as tackling physical health, so take the time to look at ways you can support your employees.

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

The National Living Wage is the legally-required rate that employers must pay those aged 23 and over.

The National Minimum Wage is the legally-required rate that employers must pay those of at least school-leaving age.

The rates change on April 1st every year.

There are different rules for paying apprentices.

Real Living Wage

The Real Living Wage is different from the Minimum and National Living Wages, and is an independently-calculated hourly rate of pay based on the cost of living.

Set by the Living Wage Foundation, the Real Living Wage rate is for all workers aged 18 or over. It also includes a London weighting, reflecting the higher cost of living in the capital.

It is not compulsory in law, but is currently voluntarily paid by more than 14,000 UK businesses - known as Living Wage Employers - including Buckinghamshire Business First.

In October 2023, the new Real Living Wage was announced as £12 per hour. (It is £13.15 in London.) Living Wage Employers have until 1st May 2024 to implement the new rate of pay.

Learn more about the Real Living Wage.


Includes information on finding payroll software, PAYE for employers, Employment Allowance, expenses and benefits, National Insurance, calculating tax on company cars and more.


Covering issues like employers’ obligations on workplace pensions, the State Pension calculator and Combined Pension Statements.

Recruiting and hiring

Including advertising a job, apprenticeships, child employment, DBS checks (previously CRB checks), discrimination law, ex-offenders and employment and checking if someone is eligible to work in the UK.

Statutory leave and time off

Covering issues like maternity and paternity leave, holiday entitlement, sick pay, career breaks, jury service, sick pay, travel disruption and bank holidays.

Trade union and worker rights

Includes information on industrial action, recognising trade unions, personal data employers can keep on employees, pregnant employees’ rights and the retirement age.