It’s all go at JDA Towers and we’re now looking for our first new recruit. We’re looking to hire the world’s best accountant to come and help all of our clients……and help us reach global domination in the accountancy world. (If you know anyone suitable, the job ad is here)

Add that to the fact that The Apprentice is back and it got us thinking about tips for employing staff, particularly if it’s for the first time. So here are my six top tips:

1 – Salary

One of the big problems with staff is that you actually have to pay them! So, the first step is to decide how much. Obviously, you want to have a salary that’s attractive to them, while not sending you bankrupt.

You also do need to be aware of the national minimum wage, or the living wage if they’re aged over 25. At the moment, that living wage is £7.50 per hour. If they’re under 25, there are a number of different rates depending on their exact age – you can find them here

You may also want to talk to some experts, perhaps some recruitment agents, and look at some job adverts to see what other people are paying for a similar role. This will help you find a market salary.

2 – Legal Checks

There are actually a few legal checks you should make on your new employee. Firstly, you should check they’ve got the legal right to work in the UK. If you’re working in certain sectors, for example working with vulnerable or young people, you might also need to do a DBS check on them.

3 – Insurance

Tip three is that, as an employer, you do legally need to have employer’s liability insurance. This insurance must cover you for at least £5 million, and it must be from a proper, authorised insurance company.

If you don’t comply with this, you can be fined £2,500 per day, so it is well worth getting it!

4 – Contracts

You need to have an employment contract if you’re employing someone for more than one month. Aside from the law, it makes sense for you and your employee. It makes the terms and conditions that will go with the job clear to both of you.

We actually use an HR adviser to help us with all our employee contracts, staff handbooks, monitoring holidays, absences……and even all the good stuff like appraisals and staff development, too!

To me, it’s well worth it. It’s really good to actually have an expert make sure you’re absolutely covered for all of this stuff and, actually, the staff appreciate it too because it shows that we care about them and their development.

5 – HMRC

If you’re a new employer, you do need to tell HMRC and register as an employer. It can take up to three or four weeks, so you do need to think in advance.

Each time you run the payroll, you’ll need to submit forms to HMRC and pay the PAYE/NI over. There’s lots of free software you can use to do this…….or you can ask an expert accountant!

In terms of the taxes, don’t forget the Employers NI. This is paid in addition to the salary, so you do need to budget for it. It’s currently at 13.8% on any salary over £680 per month. For example, if you pay someone £1,680 per month, you’ll have to pay £138 of Employers NI (ie £1,000 @ 13.8%) in addition to the £1,680.

The good news is that you do get the first £3,000 of Employers NI free at the moment so, if you only have a couple of staff, you might not need to pay any.

6 – Pensions

The last of my tips is that, as an employer, you need to set up a workplace pension scheme and automatically enrol your staff. You may well have seen or heard the adverts about this on the TV or radio. You get a few months grace before you need to do this but, if you don’t comply, the fines can be very big.

Again, it’s well worth getting proper advice from an expert on your options and how to do it.

So those are my top six tips for taking on an employee. If you do need any help, please get in touch. We can look after some of these areas, or put you in touch with an Insurance, HR or Pensions expert.

And, if you do know anyone who would be perfect for our team, please let us know.