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FAQs

Whether you’re looking to recruit domestic staff or looking for a job, there are often questions that you may have on financial, legal and other matters. On this page, we have listed some of the more common questions, with our answers or pointers to where you may obtain further advice and information.

What are the risks of employing illegal immigrants?

The UK government has an easy to use tool for checking someone’s right to work, available at https://www.gov.uk/legal-right-to-work-in-the-uk. As rules may change dependent on rulings either from the UK government or the European Union, this provides the most up-to-date source of information.

You can be prosecuted for employing illegal workers, including students with expired visas, students working more hours than they’re allowed to and people on a visitor’s visas.

At the time of preparing this guide the fines for employing people illegally are severe, with penalties for those committing the offence being up to £10,000 per worker.

However, the UK government is strengthening its crackdown on the employment of illegal workers. In the forthcoming Immigration Bill, to be introduced in Autumn 2016, there will be new measures leading to those caught working illegally in England and Wales to be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

For an employer, claiming that one did not know that an employee was an illegal worker will not be an acceptable legal defence; an employer will have to show that they have carried out proper checks prior to offering a job. The maximum sentence for an employer found guilty will be raised from two to five years, in addition to the fines already available.

5 Details of existing penalties for employers employing illegal workers may be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties.

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What are the rules concerning annual leave and holidays?

All workers (and therefore all employees) by law have a right to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave. So, someone working five days a week would be entitled to 5.6 x 5, a total of 28 days. The number of days of annual leave may include the usual 8 public or bank holidays in England and Wales. Someone working two days a week would be entitled to 5.6 x 2, a total of 11.2 (which can be rounded up to 11.5) days a year. There are 9 public holidays each year in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland, which are included in the Statutory Entitlement of 28 days for somebody working 5 days per week and pro rata for those working less.

There is no statutory right to public holidays, so an additional public holiday does not increase any entitlement to holiday under the Working Time Regulations. Whether or not an employee will benefit from the extra public holiday will depend on the wording of their contract.

As an employer you may, of course, offer more than the statutory minimum. However the exact number of days can also be dependent on specified working hours or working pattern.

See www.hmrc.gov.uk

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Is the person working for me an employee or self-employed?

See page 7 of our Essential Guide to Employing Domestic Staff and/or visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/esi

 

How do I register as an employer with HMRC?

How do I check if someone has the right to work in the UK?

The answer will be found at

http://www.gov.uk/legal-right-to-work-in-the-uk

 

Am I best advised to provide a contract to my new member of staff?

We recommend our clients seek the advice of their solicitor.

Read more for information about staff contracts

Do you offer advice on employment law?

We can only offer generic advice. We recommend that you contact a specialist in employment law, such as Hine Legal (www.hinelegal.com) who are able to offer professional advice on all aspects of employment law.

Hine Legal have recently produced a guide to employment contracts which provides a useful summary of the need for an employment contract when employing household staff.

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Do you provide a payroll service?

We do not offer a payroll service.
 
StaffTax at www.stafftax.co.uk is the recognised market leader in the provision of payroll services for domestic staff employment. With their up-to-date working knowledge of the UK tax system and employment law, they can be of great value not only to new employers , but also to those who have been employing staff for some time.

Does my prospective employee have the right to work in the United Kingdom?

The UK government has an easy to use tool for checking someone’s right to work at
https://www.gov.uk/legal-right-to-work-in-the-uk

Do I have to pay my housekeeper if she is off work through illness?

You’ll find the answer to this question at
https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay/overview.

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