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Employing people - a guide for new employers

Employing people seems a perfectly straightforward matter: hire them, then set them to work, but is it so easy?

Many employers find the list of legal rights and responsibilities daunting. But complying with the law and looking after your staff will make you more efficient and more profitable.

Getting the 'people' part of your new business wrong could cost you time, money or lost profitability through:

  • recruiting unsuitable employees
  • inadequate training
  • low morale and motivation
  • high absence levels and turnover of employees
  • ineffective management and supervision
  • too many dismissals
  • employment tribunal claims.

When you take on new staff you need to:

Know the law

For further information on the legal rights of employees visit our Advice and Guidance section or GOV.UK - Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave: employer guide.

The free, online tool the Acas Model Workplace can also help you check how effective your current policies practices are and help you avoid a workplace problem.

Sort out your employment contract

You have just two months to provide your new employee with a written statement, setting out their rights to holiday, pay, time off etc. For further information, visit:

Pay the right rates

Visit the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage page for the latest rates and our minimum wage calculator tool.

For further information visit HM Revenue and Customs or GOV.UK - Payroll.

Recruit the right people

Have you written a job description and person specification? To find out how see our 'Recruitment and induction'.

Plan training and induction

Many new recruits leave in the first few weeks because they don't feel made welcome or receive a proper induction programme. For further information see our 'Recruitment and induction' and 'Front line managers'.

Be clear about discipline and grievances

In the last year Acas has helped resolve over 4,000 employment problems that were likely to result in a tribunal claim. To find out more visit Early Conciliation or for further advice on how to manage discipline and grievances see the 'Discipline and grievances at work: the Acas guide'.

Manage attendance

Did you know that the new 'fit note' allows a GP to suggest ways for an employee to get back to work more quickly - such as working flexibly or amended duties?

For more information on this and managing attendance visit fit notes advice page or see our 'Managing attendance and employee turnover' and .


Communication does not have to mean complicated strategies. It can simply be about walking the floor and holding regular team meetings. To find out more see our 'Employee communications and consultation'.

Download our guide

pdf icon A guide for new employers [144kb] is available to download.

Find out more about how Acas can help

Check how good your organisation is at people management by using our free, online tool the Acas Model Workplace.

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