Employing at least one, but fewer than 5 people?

Are you a micro-employer – employing at least one, but fewer than 5 people? These can be people who work for you in a shop or other place of work, or in your own home, such as a nanny, carer, cleaner or personal assistant.

You need to be clear if you are an employer because you’ll have legal responsibilities towards those who work for you. You will need to make sure that your employees get certain rights such as sick payand holiday pay. You may also have to register for income tax and national insurance contributions.

If you are an employer, you’ll have a contract of employment with your employee even if this is not in writing. This will include whatever you and your employee have agreed between you. Its best if the contract is in writing so you are both clear about your rights and responsibilities. also you have to give your employees a written statement of their main terms and conditions within two months of them starting work. Both you and your employee have to stick to whatever terms and conditions you have agreed on.

However, some people you pay to do work might not be your employees. They might be self-employed, work for an agency or only work for you  on a very casual basis. You won’t have a contract of employment with these people and you won’t have the same legal responsibilities towards them. There are rules to help you to tell if someone is your employee these can be found on www.Adviceguide.org.uk the Citizens Advice website.


A carer is someone who provides you with personal care and support in your home, usually because you are sick, disabled or have a mental health problem. They might help you with cleaning, cooking, shopping or personal care such as washing and getting dressed. A carer can be either peid or unpaid.If you have a carer, you won’t be their employer if they aren’t paid for their work. This type of carer will often be a family member, friend or neighbour. If your carer is paid, they may be employed directly by you, by your local authority or by an agency. It can be difficult to work out if a carer is employed by you, a local authority or agency. Get advice if you aren’t sure.

Domestic workers

A domestic worker is someone employed by you in your own home to carry out housework. They include cooks and housekeepers. If they work only for you they are likely to be your employee, but could still be your employee if they work for others as well. Clesaners may be your employees. but could be self-employed, work for an agency or work for you on a casual basis. Gardeners are unlikely to be your employee unless they only work for you. Domestic workers aren’t protected by the same health and safety laws as other employees. There is no limit on the number of hours they can work, but they are entitled to have set rest breaks on a weekly and daily basis.

Nannies, au pairs and child minders

A nanny may be your employee, or may be an agency employee. If she works for several families she may be self-employed. An au pair may be your employee or an agency employee. This will depend on who is responsible for telling them what to do. Child minders usually work from home and are self-employed.

Your legal responsibilities to your employees are generally the same as other employers.

You must

  • not dismiss an employee for an unfair reason
  • make sure the employee gets the sick pay they’re entitled to
  • ensure your employee gets the maternity, paternity or adoption rights they’re entitled to
  • give your employee 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year(28 days for someone working 5 days a week – pro rata for part time)
  • not discriminate against your employee because of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, transgender, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership or age.
  • make reasonable adjustments to your home or workplace to allow a disabled employee to do their work
  • follow health and safety regulations
  • have employers liaibility insurance to cover you and your employee if your employee is injured while working for you
  • pay the national minimum wage. A domestic worker may not be entitled to this if they live with you and are treated as a member of the family.
  • limit the average working week to 48 hours unless they have agreed in writing to work longer than this. This limit doesn’t apply to domestic workers in a private household. Your employee is entitled to set rest breaks during the working day and working week
  • make sure your employee has the right to work in the UK before they start work. It’s a criminal offence to employ someone who does not have the right to work legally in the UK. See Home Office website www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk or ring their Sponsorship and Employers helpline 1300 123 4699
  • pass the tax and national insurance you take off your employee on to HMRC

If your employee is going to work with children or vulnerable adults and you have not used an agency, you may need to have them checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS) see www.gov.uk or contact DBS information line on 0870 9090811

For help with tax and national insurance see www.hmrc.gov.uk or ring HMRC New Employer Helpline 0300 200 3211

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