7. Finding Key UK Staff: a benefits package

You may already have found the first hire to implement the set-up. If done through a personal network, the person may be good, although his recommendation is necessarily subjective. If using a recruitment company, then their advice and reference checking would be useful, but unless on a retained basis, their main aim may be to get the person hired and get their fee. You may even be sending someone over to start the business, perhaps a UK national.

But what to offer the UK hires? Start-ups generally are not expected to provide a range of benefits –people accept that getting the business first takes priority over a tranche of benefits. But some well-established companies overseas are happy to provide similar benefits to their UK staff as they do for their own people. And some potential UK hires will not join unless certain benefits are included as part of the package – like private health insurance.

Don’t forget you must provide a contract of employment within two months of the employee starting work for you

Job offers typically are based on the parent company’s usual employment contract, including such terms as employment at will and providing 10 days vacation. However, be aware to seek advice on what would be normal in the UK (those two examples are actually illegal). Where insurances are offered care should be taken to ensure that they will actually be in place for when the hire starts. A US scheme, for instance, giving two times salary life cover to all employees may not extend to the UK, meaning that the UK hire is not covered (and his employer is at risk) until such time as underwriting takes place.

You must also setup an auto-enrolment pension scheme: a plan in place for the employee to join should they wish to at a later date, irrespective of their intentions on day one. This page on our site details further in the specifics required, together with contribution rates.

We can assist with with HR support, and preparation of employment contracts when required.

Companies are able to set salary and benefit packages themselves, but must comply with the statutory minimum wage legislation. It is compulsory for all companies with five or more employees to provide, or to provide access to, a formal pension plan.