New Starter Checklist


Taking on staff? Or employing staff for the first time?

Read our handy checklist detailing everything you need to cover, to make sure that you fulfil your legal HR obligations.

Check their legal right to work

Before employment commences you must ensure that the individual has the legal right to work in the UK and ask to see the individual’s original documents. Employers’ duties in this regard apply in respect of all staff, irrespective of nationality. A checklist containing all the acceptable documents can be found here.

Be sure you make and keep copies of the documents and the date that they were checked.

Due to Covid-19, temporary changes have been put in place to the way you can check documents, which includes asking for documents digitally and making checks on video calls.

Strict civil and criminal penalties apply where an employer is found to be illegally employing an individual.


Pay the National Minimum and Living Wage

When deciding how much to pay a worker you must ensure that you pay them the national minimum wage.  How much a worker should get depends on their age and if they are an apprentice.  The National Living Wage is the minimum wage workers get if they’re over 25.

You can use the calculator to calculate the correct NMW for your employee.


Carry out a DBS check (if required)

You should have DBS checks as part of your normal recruitment process but only for roles that require it.  More information on whether a DBS check is required and how to apply can be found here.


Provide a written statement of employment particulars (Section 1 statement)

From Day One, employees/workers must be provided with a statement of employment particulars. It can be in the form of a statement, contract of employment or letter of engagement.  

If a section 1 statement is not supplied, employees can claim compensation from the Employment Tribunal if they are also bringing another specified claim in the employment tribunal.

One document must contain the following:

  • Names of worker and employer
  • Workers job title, start date and place of work
  • Date of period of continuous employment (where applicable)
  • How much they will be paid
  • When they will be paid
  • Normal working hours
  • Days and hours the worker is required to work (and whether these may be variable)
  • Holiday entitlement (including public holidays)
  • Any other paid leave
  • Any other benefits
  • Duration and conditions of any probationary period
  • Any training entitlement
  • Notice periods
  • Terms as to any temporary or fixed term work

What can follow the Section 1 Statement (within two months and can be contained within a separate document)

  • Maternity / Paternity Leave
  • Pensions and pension schemes
  • Collective Agreements
  • Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay
  • Information about disciplinary or grievance procedures
  • Contract of employment - Although a contract of employment is not a statutory requirement it is still nonetheless an important document as you can include clauses within it to protect your business such as post-termination obligations.
  • Handbook - It is also helpful for an employer to have an employee handbook setting out comprehensive policies and procedures on matters such as sickness, holidays, works rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures. It is also very important to have policies which prohibit discrimination.

Enrolling staff into a workplace pension

You have to provide a workplace pension scheme for eligible staff as soon as your first member of staff commences employment with you. 

Whilst details of pensions/pension schemes can follow the statement of employment particulars, employers must ensure that any employee over the age of 22 who earns more than £10,000 per year is enrolled into a pension scheme. You must also pay into it. 

Obtain employers’ liability insurance

You must get Employers’ Liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.  The policy must cover you for at least £5 million and come from an authorised insurer. You can be fined £2,500 for every day you are not properly insured.

Register with HMRC

You normally need to register as an employer with HMRC when you start employing staff.  You must register even if you are only employing yourself and registration must take place before the first payday.

How we can help

The above checklist sets out the main aspects you need to consider when you employ staff.

At Talbots, we can provide you with detailed advice on each point mentioned above and help draft the relevant documentation such as a Section 1 Statement, contracts of employment and a handbook.

Talbots Law offer a HR service to suit the needs of your business, with an experienced employment team who will provide a service specifically tailored to your business aims and requirements.

If you require advice and assistance on the above or any employment matter then please contact Reyhana Koser  or Eleanor Robinson-Brady in our Employment team, or call us on 0800 118 1500 for more information.