Becoming an Employer

As soon as your group recruits someone as a paid member of staff, they become employers and take on all the responsibilities that this entails. For some community groups, the recruitment and retention of staff (paid or unpaid) will be crucial to the delivery of services or activities.  

The recruitment and selection process can appear to be a minefield of legislation and potential pitfalls for your group, but getting the right people into the right jobs will make a major impact on how the organisation is able to fulfil its aims and objectives. Getting it wrong can be time consuming and expensive.

You will need to comply with not only employment law but also Equality legislation and laws covering health and safety issues.

Your group or organisation should consider drawing up a recruitment policy and having it in place before the need arises. Having a good policy and procedure, (and following it) can reduce the likelihood of any problems.

Under employment law, employees have certain legal rights. 

These include contractual rights relating to their contract of employment and statutory rights relating both to employees as individuals for example, protection against unfair discrimination and to employees on a collective basis such as the right for union recognition.

In instances where unpaid staff are not covered by employment law, it is still best practice for your organisation to be aware of the legislation and wherever possible to apply it equally to both paid and unpaid staff.

When a person starts work they are entitled to certain rights.  

These include:

  • a nationally agreed minimum wage which varies according to the age of the employee

  • working time rights including breaks, holidays and holiday pay, and a limit on the working week

  • Health and Safety protection

  • the right to join a union

  • protection from unfair discrimination

  • a written contract of employment