Employers’ liability insurance: what’s right for apprentices?

Safety and insurance

2 February 2018

Taking on an apprentice is a brave move for your business, but also a very savvy one. Employing someone young and training them into your line of work is a great way to staff up at low cost, and build your legacy with an enthusiastic new generation of workers.

It’s not without its risks, though, and that’s where we’re here to help. For anyone working for you, Employers’ liability insurance can be a legal requirement – it's also a major part of controlling your risk as you grow, safeguarding the business you’ve built and ensuring it lasts to pass on in the future.

The law

UK law is clear that every business employing staff must have employers’ liability insurance in place. The only exceptions are immediate family (including half-siblings, step-children and grandparents), and workers who are volunteering rather than working for you. Informal or verbal contracts are no get-out. If they’re subject to your supervision and control they are considered employees for legal purposes. This absolutely includes apprentices.

Once you have employees, including apprentices, you should look at putting employers’ liability insurance in place, covering a minimum of £5 million (AXA's policy covers £10 million as standard), provided by an authorised insurer. You can check an insurer's credentials on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register.

Protecting your apprentice

Choosing the right insurance isn’t just about meeting legal requirements, it’s about protecting your team. These are the people who will represent, build and develop your business, and you should take care of them, particularly younger, less experienced staff like apprentices.

Even under expert guidance, inexperienced workers can suffer accidents on the job. In fact, men aged 16-24 have a 40% higher chance of injury than those aged 45-54. While there’s no substitute for supervision and attention, you can all be more confident in your work knowing that an insurance policy will cover compensation which your injured employee is legally entitled to and your legal costs associated with the claim.

Protecting your business

As employers’ liability insurance can be a legal requirement, there's also a real financial risk if you neglect your responsibilities. You can be fined up to £2,500 for each day you’re not properly covered. Your insurance certificate must also be easily accessible to your employees and an inspector. If you don’t have it ready to show it when asked you can be fined £1,000.

In the long-term, getting the right employers’ liability insurance is a positive step toward protecting your business from the costs of unforeseen circumstances. If any employee takes legal action against you, you’ll have access to a 24-hour legal helpline, cover for all health and safety law prosecution costs, and £250 compensation for each day you have to go to court.

All of this means that you can approach your business goals fearlessly, taking on the tasks you can see while you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re covered against those you can’t.