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Can I employ staff as a sole trader?

Sole traders are always self-employed but being a sole trader doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work alone. As a sole trader, yes, you can employ staff.

However, it’s important to bare in mind that you carry all the liability as a sole trader (given that you & your business don’t have a different legal identity).

You will need to register with HMRC as an employer & submit RTI (Real Time Information) submissions to HMRC.  You may also need to set up an employer’s pension scheme, if they will earn more £10,000 (for the 24/25 tax year) or more in your employment. This is know as ‘auto-enrolment’.

You should also look into statutory employment rights & make sure that you understand what your legal requirements as an employer are. In addition, you will need to get employers’ liability insurance. It’s also a really good idea to carry out background checks on anyone you’re considering hiring; you must check that they have a legal right to work in the UK for instance.   


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Don't want to pay for a bookkeeper to do it all, but don't want to go alone either?