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Hertfordshire firms warned to follow employment laws

The Hertfordshire Better Business for All Partnership is reminding local employers of the support that is available to help them ensure that their staff are legally entitled to work in the UK.

John Boulter, chair of the multi-agency Hertfordshire Partnership said, “We know that businesses in Hertfordshire do their best to employ staff legally but are told by business representatives that employers often find the requirements confusing and are unsure of what they need to do to comply. We hope this simple guidance will help our businesses stay protected and avoid a fine or prosecution.”

Carrying out a quick and simple check can protect business owners from hefty penalties if illegal workers are found working in their company. 

The Right to Work check involves three simple steps:

1. Obtain the employee’s original identity documents.
2. Check the documents are valid with the employee present. 
3. Copy and keep the documents securely. Record the date of the check. 

A list of which documents are valid can be found online at www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work

Businesses can also use a quick online tool to help carry out the checks - www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk

Carrying out the checks will provide you with a ‘statutory defence’ that will prevent you from being issued with a penalty if illegal workers are found in your business. 

All employees need to be treated the same and so the check should be carried out on all staff, regardless of their nationality or place of birth. When checking documents, the employer should look to make sure that the name and dates of birth are the same as those given, that all documents are valid and in date and that the employee looks like the person in the photograph. 

Last year, in just one quarter, 77 businesses in London and the South East fell foul of the rules and were issued a financial penalty which varied from £5,000 to £105,000. 

To find out more about the Better Business for All Partnership and how local regulators are working to reduce red tape and support businesses visit www.hertfordshirelep.com/Better-Regulation.aspx or @BbfaHerts on twitter.