By Martin Wright, SME Packages Portfolio Underwriter, RSA

Britain now has more people working for themselves than ever before, with 4.3 million [1] earning their crust and officially self-employed. This has also meant that there has been an increase in the number of self-employed people taking on seasonal and part-time workers without having the appropriate level of legal protection. Employer’s liability cover is a legal requirement and without it you are leaving your business open to possible fines of up to £2,500 per day and could be liable for compensation and legal fees if an employee is injured or becomes ill at work. Even a claim for relatively minor injuries can cost £5,000, including legal costs.

There are a few simple questions for self-employed people to consider when taking out Employer’s Liability protection:

• Is any of your work undertaken by other self-employed people?
People who you normally think of as self-employed, for example a handyman, may actually be considered as your employees in the eyes of the law. Whether or not you need Employer’s Liability insurance for someone working for you depends on the extent of your responsibility for their supervision, and on your terms of contract with them. If in doubt, seek legal advice.
• Do you get help from unpaid volunteers or work-experience students?
Unpaid ‘helpers’ may in some cases be regarded as your employees, especially where you have direct responsibility for their work and supervision. If you do have such individuals working for you, contact your insurance company to check that you have sufficient cover.
• Do you employ agency staff, e.g. a delivery person or typist?
Whether or not you require Employer’s Liability cover for agency staff will entirely depend on the contract with the agency. Contracts do vary, therefore make sure you check the terms and conditions, or seek legal advice.

For more information please visit: www.rsabroker.com

[1] Office for National Statistics