Employers’ liability insurance covers any sum you may be legally liable to pay employees in the event of injury, illness or death caused during their employment. If you employ anyone in the UK, purchasing employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement.
As an employer, you are responsible for protecting your employees; unfortunately, accidents can still happen even with all the necessary precautions in place. This is where employers’ liability insurance becomes useful.
Employers’ liability insurance will cover any costs associated with legal action taken against your business by a current or former employee if they’ve been injured or become ill whilst working for you.
You can buy employers' liability insurance as a standalone policy, but it's also commonly included in packaged business insurance or can be added to a commercial combined policy for bigger businesses.
Most employers' liability insurance policies cover all employees without knowing their exact job roles or how much they are paid. The standard coverage limit for this type of insurance is £10 million, although the law requires most businesses to have a minimum coverage of £5 million.
Employers’ liability insurance is designed to protect your business if past or present employees take legal action for injuries or illnesses they’ve suffered in your employment. The costs covered by employers’ liability insurance are typically:
An employee is defined as someone:
An employer’s liability policy should cover claims brought by:
Several businesses will get employers’ liability insurance included as part of a packaged or combined business insurance policy, though cover can also be bought individually.
The cost of employers’ liability insurance for your business will usually depend on the following:
Almost every UK business is legally required to have employers’ liability insurance in place. Though there are a handful of exceptions, such as:
If you don’t have employers’ liability insurance when you’re legally required to, you could get fined £2,500 for every day you’re not covered.
If you fail to display your employer’s liability certificate or produce it when an inspector asks, you could be fined £1,000.
Besides the legal penalties, not having employers’ liability insurance could prove costly if a claim is bought against your business.
If an employee takes legal action against your company because they were injured whilst working for you, you’ll likely have to pay legal fees, compensation, medical bills and loss of income, which can quickly add up. You must consider if your business could realistically withstand these costs without insurance.
Whether or not you need employers’ liability insurance for subcontractors will depend on what type of subcontractor they are.
You’ll still need employers’ liability insurance if you hire labour-only subcontractors. Typically labour-only subcontractors are used when a business needs extra help on a short-term basis, working as part of your team and acting as an employee.
If you hire a bona fide subcontractor, you won’t need employer’s liability insurance. Genuine subcontractors work independently from your team on a specific task outside your team's skillset. Authentic subcontractors are technically self-employed and would send your business an invoice for their services.
Employers’ liability insurance protects both employers and employees.
Employers are protected from costs associated with legal cases bought against them by employees who become sick or injured whilst working. This helps to protect the business from the significant financial impact these cases could have.
However, employers’ liability insurance also helps to ensure that employees will be compensated if they lose income or incur medical bills because of an injury or illness they suffer whilst working for you.