Employment law basics

Times when you may need information on employment law include:

  • starting a new business where you will be employing people
  • closing or selling a business with existing employees
  • changing the structure of your business in ways that may impact existing employees
  • changing your business premises
  • when your business is expanding and you need to take on new employees
  • when you need to replace employees who have left the business
  • considering redundancies
  • operating in industries with health and safety requirements, like construction or chemical manufacturing
  • handling complaints or claims from employees
  • considering disciplinary action against an employee.

Hiring staff


Employment law and regulations – Government guide on general employment.

Hiring employees: recruitment guide – A guide on how to go about hiring your first employee and your legal obligations.

Employment contracts

A guide to employment contracts – Government guide to contracts between employers and employees. This includes information about terms, changes to existing contracts and collective agreements which involve trade unions.

Contracts of employment and working hours – Government A-Z covering issues with employment contracts.

Template employment statement – A Government template that shows what all employees are entitled to receive within 2 months of starting work.

See also 'Zero hours contracts'

Apprentice/ work experience

9 things employers need to know about apprenticeships - DAS Law explains what factors  and legal obligations employers need to consider regarding apprenticeship schemes.

Work experience: legal requirements – A Health and Safety Executive guide covering the health and safety obligations when taking on work experience placements.

Employing people from overseas

Rules around overseas employees – HMRC on checking someone’s legal right to work in the UK and the tax considerations.

Zero hours contracts

A guide to zero hours contracts – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), if you are considering using zero hours contracts.

Employer’s liability insurance

The law on employers' liability insurance – Government information on the legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance.

Employers’ liability insurance – the Association of British Insurers guide to this type of insurance.

Get insurance for your business – Health and Safety Executive information on employers’ liability insurance.

Staff benefits and rights

Annual leave entitlements

Legal requirements for annual leave – Government facts on the leave you must provide your employees.

Paying your employees

Employers pay obligations – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (ACAS) guide to your obligations when paying your employees.

See also the Tax factsheet and the Government’s A-Z list of payroll issues for more information.

Tax and employees

See the Tax factsheet for information on this topic.

Changing employment contracts

Varying a contract of employment – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) guide to changing employment contracts.

Employee health and safety

Health & Safety made simple – Health and Safety Executive guide to managing health and safety basics.

Discrimination and equality

The law on equality – Government overview to your legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act: guidance for small businesses – The Equality & Human Rights Commission advice on meeting your duties.

Equality monitoring – Government guide to employers’ responsibilities when it comes to recording and holding personal information about your staff.

Shared parental leave

The Shared Parental Leave regulations – Government guide to the requirements you need to consider.

Good practice guide – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) information aimed at both employers and employees.

Pension rights for your employees

Workplace pensions: employers’ responsibilities – Government guide to the legal requirements around workplace pensions.

Selling your business

Employee protections when selling or taking over a business – Government guide to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations.

Employment disputes and other legal issues

Employment disputes

Handling employment disputes – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service guide to disputes and how to handle them.

Employment tribunals

Being taken to an employment tribunal – Government guide to the employment tribunal process from an employer’s perspective, including the grounds on which an employee can take you to a tribunal.

Disciplinary action and dismissing staff

Taking disciplinary action against an employee – Government guide to the rules and procedures for disciplinary action.

Dismissing staff – Government guide to fairly and legally ending an employees contract.

Disciplinary and grievance procedures – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (ACAS) covering both disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Making staff redundant

Making staff redundant – Government guide to the processes and employees’ rights.

Employment law advisers

As a small business owner, you may decide to take employment law advice. There are many different types of people who can give this advice. These include:

For a list of questions to ask a legal services provider before you take legal advice, visit our provider checklist.

Last reviewed: 8 January 2019