Farming families have traditionally relied on their land and livestock to make a well-earned living. However, as the behaviour of the everyday consumer changes so have these once traditional enterprises.

Many in the primary sector have decided to supplement their income (and in turn their security) by diversifying their business to include farm shops, garden centres and, in some instances, magical lands filled with ice cream and fair ground rides.

However, what are the key employment law considerations when such growth happens? In this article Kalpesh Nakeshree, Head of Employment Law at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton touches on some of the more pertinent points to consider:

Contracts of Employment

- Family who work for you could still be employees and in that regard there is a legal requirement to provide a written particulars of employment with very specific content.

- There is a right to a pay slip for all workers and for those who work on an hourly paid basis

payslips must now outline the number of hours worked.

- All workers are entitled to have up to 28 days of paid annual leave (pro-rated for part timers) regardless of whether they are part time, full time or zero hours.

Formality is often forgotten in family set ups however Employment law does not distinguish along these lines. Having contracts in place for family is a good way to set an equal and professional standard for all prospective employees.

Immigration status

- It is a legal obligation to comply with the prevention of illegal working. As an employer you must check the documentation of every UK based worker to verify that they do in fact have the right to work in the UK. A failure to do this could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker. From 6 April 2022 new rules will mean that certain documents that prove the right to work in the UK can only be verified online.

- Since July 2021 all new EU, EEA and Swiss employees must now hold a ‘pre-settled status’ ‘settled status’ or valid visa to prove their right to work. For those of you who have existing EU or EEA nationals employed before 30 June 2021 please do not worry as there is no requirement to carry out retrospective checks so long as you checked their valid ID or passport at that time.

The farming sector has often relied on a foreign skills force. As your business grows it is important that these rules are applied to all workers, not just those from outside the UK.

Handbooks and job descriptions

-Although it is not a legal obligation, having a clearly set out handbook and job description helps to avoid issues. Within a job description you should set out clearly what is expected from an employee and what his/her role and responsibilities are.

- A handbook can help you set the day to day rules of the business and can contain important provisions like the disciplinary and grievance policies.

I hope the above pointers prevent your business becoming stuck in the muddy field that is Employment Law. If you would like any further help or assistance with any aspects of this article please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help.

If you would like to receive further advice about your particular situation please contact Kalpesh Nakeshree, Head of Employment at Pearsons & Ward on Malton 01653 692247 or email