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No, You can’t do without Employers Liability Insurance

Published: 07/12/09

Employers Liability Insurance, or EL, is mandatory for every business in the UK, barring a few exceptions, further to an amendment to the law in 2005. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have the authority to prosecute you if you don’t have EL and an accident has taken place in at your workplace. Without EL cover you are liable to face a jail term of up to 14 years and an unlimited fine, in the event of an accident. You could also be fined or have your business license cancelled if you have the incorrect insurance.

If you are a team of family member, then you don’t require EL cover. However, make sure you discuss all these issues with your consultant. One exception is if you are a Limited Company with two or more working directors, then EL cover is necessary even if you are a husband and wife team. This is in accordance with the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. You can’t escape any of the rules because EL is dealt with under criminal law as in the case of murder or arson.

Part-time, full time, or casual labour are all classified as employees, even if you are not responsible for their contribution to tax and national insurance. If one of your employees injures themselves on the job then you are liable to pay compensation. Whatever be the case, the health and safety of your employees are your responsibility. Even former employees that may become ill as a result of working under your you, can claim for compensation if they deem you responsible. Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 you have at least the minimum level of cover against any claims.

If you decide to hire staff only during peak seasons then you need to get EL cover. Un-paid volunteers and work-experience students are also regarded as employees, and you ought to contact your insurance company can check if you have sufficient cover. If you employ cleaners and security guards that may work for several different companies, they will need to be covered by their respective employer’s EL cover. If you employ agency staff such as a typist or delivery person, then make sure the terms and conditions are laid down in your contract with the agency or else seek legal advice.

Employers' liability insurance needs a cover of at least five million pounds in order to be legal. This excludes any other charges levied by the insurance company. Most businesses opt for EL cover of £10 million or more. However, the amount you require would vary on the size of your business and the level of risks involved.

EL premiums are generally lower for low-risk businesses, a factor by which your business will be determined by the insurance company too. The premium is normally based on similar businesses that operate in your domain. Most packages include legal costs for both parties in the event of a claim being filed against you. With the rising rate of claims being filed, it is advisable that you get adequate EL cover today.

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