Archives for March 2014

Becoming an employer? Do not be afraid

The following is a guest post by Anna Harvey, from Face2FaceHR. Anna is a qualified lawyer and, prior to joining face2faceHR, ran her own law firm specialising exclusively in employment law, working closely with directors, managers and trustees of SMEs and charities…

Thinking of taking on your first employee but afraid of what this may involve? Don’t panic, help is at hand!

Anna Harvey photo - WebHere is a summary of some of the key things you should first consider:

Financial issues
1. You will need register as an employer with HMRC up to 4 weeks before you pay your new employee
2. You will need to either operate a payroll yourself or get an accountant or bookkeeper to do it for you
3. You need to ensure you pay at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) amount (currently £6.31 for employees 21 and over)
4. You will need employer’s liability insurance

Legal issues
1. You need to be aware of some of the basic employment rights which apply from day one of employment. These include having a right to:

  • Itemised payslip
  • Holiday
  • NMW
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Health & Safety protection
  • Time off for children/dependents
  • Protection against discrimination

2. Before offering a job ensure you’ve completed some basic checks

  • Do they have the right to work in UK
  • References
  • Criminal record checks where necessary (now called DBS checks)

3. You must keep records on the following:

  • Rates of pay
  • Payroll, ie tax and NI
  • Sickness absence
  • Accidents and injuries

4. You need to be aware of Data Protection issues

  • Personal info must be relevant, adequate, not excessive
  • Workers can see their records on request

5. You must by law have in place the following:

  • Discipline and Grievance procedures
  • Health and Safety measures if >5 employees
  • Written statement of particulars – basic terms of employment (within 2 months of the employee commencing employment)

HR issues
1. It is likely you will encounter at some stage challenges with managing your staff. Creating policies to deal with the following issues can really help:

  • Performance
  • Absence
  • Behaviour and conduct (e.g. use of computer systems and social media)
  • Conflict

2. Finding the right candidate is absolutely essential. Taking time to consider exactly what role you want your employee to undertake and what type of candidate you are looking for is key. Don’t just use general job descriptions or job adverts – make these specific to your business and your needs.

So, now you’ve read through that list, I take it you’re thinking ‘what a piece of cake’?! OK, we’re not quite there yet?

What if I also told you that, contrary to popular belief, it is really quite easy (as long as there are no discrimination issues involved) to get rid of someone in the first two years of their employment.

What if I also told you that from April your business could get a £2,000 tax cut off your National Insurance Contributions (NICs) bill, which in simple terms means you can pay your first employee up to £22,400 without paying any employer NICs – click on this link for an explanation with pictures (pictures are always helpful when you’re talking about tax!)

What more is that George Osborne says “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and I want to make it easier for you to succeed and grow” – with this kind of backing, what on earth have you got to be afraid of, right?!

Maybe Osborne’s promises aren’t the best example to use to alleviate your fears, but it is true that ‘small business are the lifeblood of the economy’ and that there is nothing that should stop you from growing if the time is right (and tax-wise it couldn’t be a better time) to take on your first employee.

Out of all this (hopefully) useful information, the best tip I would give you is to take time to identify your ideal role that fits with the needs of your business and to recruit the absolutely best candidate. Everything else should then slot in place and before you know it you’ll be ready to take on the next one and will then need a bigger office!!

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Anna at or on 01223 785147

Coworking at Cambridge Business Lounge

One of our regular visitors to Cambridge Business Lounge,, has shown off their animated media skills by creating a new video detailing what coworking is all about, and how it works at Cambridge Business Lounge:

If you’d like Blunt Brit to create a video for you, then contact them through their website, tell them Ed sent you and receive a 30% discount. You’re welcome!!