A lot of people mistakenly assume that you have to work alone in order to operate as a sole trader. Unfortunately, some people don’t realise that you can employ staff and end up swamped in work.
What does being a sole trader mean?
Becoming a sole trader is often the simplest way to become self-employed. Being a sole trader means that you operate the business, and are personally liable for any debts that your business runs up. Some people don’t like the risk of this and find that setting up a limited company suits them better.
It doesn’t mean that you have to do all the work yourself though! Sole traders can take on staff if they need to.
Do sole traders have different responsibilities as employers?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership, if you employ people, you’ve got rules to abide by. This means you have to pay the same kind of employee benefits as a bigger company, including holiday pay and pension contributions.
Next you need to check that they have the legal right to work in the UK and do any other necessary employment checks.
Once you’re ready to go ahead and offer them the job, you’ll need to provide details of the job, including terms and conditions, in writing to your new employee. You will also need to give them a written statement of employment if you’re hiring them for more than a month.
Register as an employer with HMRC up to 4 weeks before you take on your new employee and pay them for the first time. This is so that you are set up for PAYE.
Check if you need to enrol them into a workplace pension scheme. Auto-enrolment means that you’ll have to contribute to your workers’ pensions. However, this is only applicable for people aged over 22 and who earn over £10,000 a year. If this applies then you’ll have to pay at least the minimum employer pension contribution of your worker’s “qualifying earnings” into the pension.
Are you looking to hire your first employee? Congratulations! Learn more about how we can support you with our online accounting services for sole traders. Call 020 3355 4047 or use the live chat button your screen.
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About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.