Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it also comes with its fair share of responsibilities. One of the most crucial aspects that new business owners often overlook is the importance of conducting right-to-work checks for their employees ...
This isn't just a formality; it's a legal obligation that can have severe consequences if ignored. No matter the size of the business, every employer in the UK is legally bound to ensure that their employees have the right to work in the country.
Even small businesses are not exempt. Ignoring this duty can lead to significant penalties, including hefty fines and, in extreme cases, the forced closure of the business. Since 2018, penalties amounting to £88.4 million have been levied on employers who failed to adhere to these regulations.
The government is taking this issue seriously. They have proposed an increase in the penalty for employing illegal workers. For a first-time breach, the fine could go up to £45,000 per illegal worker, a significant jump from the previous £15,000. Repeat offenders could face up to £60,000, up from £20,000. With such high stakes, it's imperative for businesses to be diligent in their hiring practices.
There are several methods to conduct these checks:
- Manual Checks: This traditional method involves checking the original documents. It's applicable for both foreign nationals and British and Irish citizens, with some exceptions
- Online Checks: Done using the Home Office online system, this method is for foreign nationals who have an online share code
- Digital Checks: Introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, this method uses Identity Document Verification Technology (IDVT) to check right-to-work documentation remotely
Maintaining a record of every document checked is crucial. These records, whether hard copies or scanned, should be stored securely and be readily accessible.
In today's digital age, ensuring an employee's right to work has never been easier. With various methods available, there's no excuse for businesses not to conduct these checks diligently. It's not just about avoiding penalties; it's about upholding the law and ensuring a legitimate and safe working environment for all.
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