By Daniel Hunter

An online toolkit that provides employers with help when taking on their first employee was launched by Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson today (Monday).

An update from the version that was launched a year ago, the Employing staff for the first time toolkit helps potential employers through the process of hiring their first member of staff and sets out the relevant legal requirements.

This includes information on setting pay, getting the right insurance, understanding tax requirements and checking a new employee’s right to work in the UK.

“We know that around 300,000 businesses look to take on staff each year. For some businesses there is a perception that hiring for the first time is a daunting process. This is especially the case if you are the owner of a small business and do not have your own HR staff," Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said.

“Our toolkit is a valuable one-stop-shop that provides businesses with free access to everything they need to know about taking someone on. Making sure businesses feel confident about growing will help to build a stronger economy and create more jobs.“

On its initial introduction in April 2012 the tool was getting around 4,000 hits a month. Since the site was transferred to the GOV.UK site, traffic has trebled to around 12,000 visits a month and at this rate will hit 144, 000 visits by the end of the year.

Lindsay Melvin MCIPPdip, Chief Executive at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), said: “The ‘Employing staff for the first time’ toolkit on the GOV.UK website is a very informative resource for organisations that are unfamiliar with the processes around hiring new employees. The CIPP is delighted at the success of the tool a year on from its launch.

“We encourage employers to be fully aware of their payroll obligations when starting a business and think that this checklist from BIS provides a solid foundation to understanding the essentials.”

Rekha Mehr, Founders and Entrepreneur in Residence for BIS said: “I have certainly fallen victim to the fear of hiring an employee, even in the knowledge that they would be the key to me growing my business. Part of the problem is having a clear list of my obligations as a potential employer before even thinking about the recruitment process.

"It's great to see this clear and concise guide addressing the facts and providing links for further reading to save time-precious business owners from trawling the mass of information on the internet. “

Institute of Recruiters (IOR) Director General, Azmat Mohammed said: "Taking on an employee for the first time can be a challenging prospect for a small business. This is why it is important that they have access to support to help guide them through the process.

"This excellent free online toolkit will provide free access to key information a business needs to consider when taking someone on. It will make their life easier and allow them to focus on growing their business."

In addition, The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) will today launch six new guides to help small firms make sure they comply with the law when hiring, managing people and dealing with complaints at work.

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