What is Employers’ Liability Insurance? What cover is required?

Posted on Jan 16th, 2017 | Employment law

Crunch - What is Employers’ Liability Insurance? What cover is required? - A warning sign

Employers’ Liability Insurance often provokes many questions, not least whether or not you actually need it and what coverage is required. We answer the most commonly asked questions.

What is Employers’ Liability Insurance?

Simply put, Employers’ Liability Insurance covers costs that arise from claims made by any of your employees while at work, up to the amount defined in your policy schedule.

Do I need Employers’ Liability Insurance if I own a limited company with no employees?

If you’re the sole director of your limited company, own 50% or more of the shares, and have no employees, Employers’ Liability Insurance isn’t required. However, you may find some of your clients require you to have this cover in place before you commence work.

Do I need Employers’ Liability Insurance if I’m self-employed / a sole trader?

Whether you’re self-employed as a sole trader or running your own limited company, the law relating to Employers’ Liability Insurance still applies.

Can I be fined for not having Employers’ Liability Insurance?

If you fail to have Employers’ Liability Insurance in place when it’s legally required, you’ll end up in hot water with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). For each day that you fail to have cover, you can be fined £2,500.

You’ll need to make your Employers’ Liability Insurance certificate available to your employees. You can either print it out and display it where your employees work, or make it available to them digitally. You also need to make it available to the HSE, if requested. If you fail to provide your certificate to the HSE, or your employees don’t have easy access to it, you may be hit with a nasty £1,000 fine.

What’s the minimum Employers’ Liability coverage?

The HSE requires a minimum cover of £5 million, but most insurance policies provide £10 million cover as standard. All insurance policies from Crunch with Employers’ Liability Insurance have £10 million cover.

When do I have to have Employers’ Liability Insurance?

You need to have Employers’ Liability Insurance in place as soon as you start employing people or if you hold less than 50% of the shares in your limited company.

What if I have freelancers, contractors, or subcontractors working for me?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you refer to a person who works for you or your business. If the HSE deems them to be an employee (for example if you supply their work materials, control where or how they work, or generally treat them like an employee), you’ll need it. If in doubt as to the status of your workforce, get professional advice.

Do family members need to be covered?

If you’re a sole trader and employ only close family members (such as a husband, wife, son, daughter, father, or mother), you’re not legally required to have Employers’ Liability Insurance. Crucially, this exception doesn’t apply if you run a limited company – you’ll need Employers’ Liability Insurance regardless of your employees’ relation to you.

What if I just occasionally employ temporary or seasonal workers?

The length you employ people makes no difference to your responsibilities regarding insurance. Even if you only employ someone for a few days, you’ll need cover in place during that time.

Do unpaid workers need to be covered?

Even if you don’t pay someone for their services, you’re still responsible for their health and safety during their working hours. Employers’ Liability Insurance is therefore required for all unpaid workers.

How much does Employers’ Liability Insurance cost?

As with all insurance costs, the amount you pay depends on various factors, such as the industry your business operates in and how many employees you need to cover. It’s often cheaper when provided as part of a package with other insurance covers, such as public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

If you’re a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner, Crunch can provide business insurance tailored to you. Get an instant online quote today.

Insurance from Crunch

Join Crunch Chorus:
The free community for the self-employed

You'll get access to a range of benefits, such as invoice software, jargon-free business guides, great networking opportunities, discounts, plus much more

Written by Jake Smith

Useful tools and resources

Business guides

From understanding expenses to starting a limited company, we've a range of jargon-free business guides for you to download and keep.

Invoicing software and templates

Create, send and store sole trader invoices in a snap with our free invoice software. You can also download a selection of invoice templates for all business types.

Take-home pay calculator

Use our Take-Home Pay Calculator to work out your true earnings and see if you could save money with a different company set up.