Employing family, younger persons or volunteers

The following notes set out some of the factors you will need to consider if you are considering employing members of your family, younger workers or volunteers in your business.

If you hire family members you must:

  • avoid special treatment in terms of pay, promotion and working conditions
  • make sure tax and National Insurance contributions are still paid
  • follow working time regulations for younger family members
  • have employer’s liability insurance that covers any young family members
  • check if you need to provide them with a workplace pension scheme

If you have volunteers or voluntary staff working in your business, you will need to consider the following matters:

  • you are responsible for their health and safety, and you
  • must give inductions and training in the tasks they’re going to do.

You can employ young people if they are 13 years or over but there are special rules about how long they can work and what jobs they can do. Once someone is 18, they are classed as an ‘adult worker’ and different rules apply.

As well as following these rules you must do a risk assessment before taking on young workers.

Young people may also have certain employment rights, for example:

  • statutory maternity pay and ordinary statutory paternity pay if they qualify as a result of their continuous employment,
  • paid time off for study and training, and
  • redundancy pay.

As the employer, you should also be mindful of the National Minimum Wage regulations. Young workers and apprentices have different rates from adult workers for the National Minimum Wage purposes.

If employing your spouse or children, you should be especially careful to observe the above points. In particular, document their duties and make sure that they are paid a commercial rate per hour for the type of work that they undertake.

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