The Gathering 2018

There are nearly 120,000 paid staff in the voluntary sector in Scotland. Looking after them requires keeping up to date with employment law and having the right policies and procedures in place.

It’s important to get it right from the start as your staff can be your most valuable asset. There are some templates available from Business Gateway to help you recruit and employ staff, and we have a free legal advice service for SCVO member organisations.

So if you’re thinking of employing staff, or just want to check you’re managing people well, here’s a ten-point checklist to get you started.


Before you even think of employing staff, make sure that your organisation is ready.


Start by planning ahead and thinking about the wider objectives of your organisation.

Make sure you recruit employees effectively and fairly.

Once you’ve done the hard work of recruitment, make sure your new employee has a well-organised induction programme.


Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK

You may have to do other employment checks as well, such as getting references, confirming qualifications and checking criminal records.

Business Gateway provides an interactive tool for employers to inform and help make the necessary checks on potential staff.


As soon as someone accepts a job offer they have a contract with you as their employer. Most employees are entitled to a Written Statement of the main terms and conditions of employment within two calendar months of starting work. This should include details of pay, holidays and working hours.


As an employer you have legal responsibilities with regard to employees’ working hours and you also have a legal duty to give consideration to any request for flexible or home working.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide workers who work a 5-day week with the right to at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year, which can be inclusive of any Bank Holidays that are allowed by the contract. Part-time and sessional workers are entitled to paid leave on a pro-rata basis.


If you are an employer you have a statutory duty to automatically enrol your employees into a workplace pension scheme.


Your organisation has legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthy conditions for your employees. Healthy Working Lives provides free confidential health and safety advice for organisations in Scotland, including free workplace visits and a free helpline.


You are required by law to have Employers’ Liability Insurance. Your policy must cover you for at least £5million and come from an authorised insurer This will help you pay compensation if an employee is injured at work. You need to display a copy of the EL insurance certificate. 


You have a legal duty to keep detailed records of pay, hours worked, tax, national insurance, statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay. These must be kept in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You must have a data protection policy that sets out how to manage this information.

10. PAY

As an employer you have a number of legal obligations when paying your employees. You need to register with HMRC so you can pay tax and national insurance for your employees, and set suitable rates of pay. You must pay your employees at least the National Minimum Wage and should also consider paying the Scottish Living Wage which is voluntary and administered by the voluntary sector.

Many voluntary sector organisations ask what should they pay their staff? Some organisations use the local government SJC Salary Scales. SCVO is not involved in setting these scales or any pay negotiations, but SCVO members can access the payscales on the COSLA Employers website. Contact us to gain access.

The SCVO Payroll Service has been supporting the voluntary sector in Scotland for 25 years and can process salaries for your organisation.

Page last modified on 21st August 2019