Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance)

Generally, someone is defined as your employee if:

  • They are under a contract of service
  • You deduct National Insurance contributions and income tax from the salary you pay them
  • You control when, where and how they work
  • They cannot employ a substitute when they are unable to work

Many EL policies available in the market will contain a wide definition of employee that will cover most circumstances.

A recent case saw the managers of a Chorley pub sentenced after they failed to buy insurance to protect their employees.

Stephen and Karen Martin were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after they employed staff at the Hinds Head pub in Charnock Richard without purchasing Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance.

South Ribble Magistrates’ Court in Leyland heard the couple, who no longer run the pub, employed several people including a manager, a cleaner, a chef and waiting staff.

As the pair did not buy any insurance, they had no means of paying their employees any compensation they could be awarded in the event of them falling ill or having an accident at work. Despite being warned by HSE inspectors on several occasions between September 2010 and February 2011, the couple failed to address the issue.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE investigating inspector Shellie Bee said: “Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance is a legal requirement and not an optional extra.

Because Stephen and Karen Martin cut corners to save money, they were putting their employees in a position where they could have potentially suffered a life changing illness or injury at work and had no recourse to any kind of compensation.

“Despite being given ample opportunity to correct this problem over a period of months, they chose to ignore the advice they were given by HSE so we had no choice but to prosecute.”

Stephen and Karen Martin, of Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Shropshire, were each found guilty of three breaches of Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 by not insuring their employees against injury or disease sustained at work.

The couple, who failed to attend the hearing, were each fined £1,200 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,620 on 23 September 2011.


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