What is the Right to Work?
The Home Office defines the Right to Work as the obtaining, validating and copy-making of an employee’s documents which show they have permission to work. All UK employers must conduct a Right to Work check prior to a prospective employee’s start date to ensure they can lawfully work in the UK.
There are a range of documents from, passports to Biometric Residence Permits, which an individual might present as proof of their right to work. In the case of time-sensitive documents, it is up to the company to repeat the checks once their previous permission to work expires.
Why is it important?
All UK employers are accountable for preventing illegal working which is why making the due diligence beforehand is vital. Illegal employment is a criminal offence with serious financial ramifications for employers, the potential for prosecution and reputational damage. Furthermore from an ethical viewpoint, employees who do not have the right to work are more likely to be subject to exploitation and mistreatment.
Especially in companies with large workforces, HR departments must have up-to-date and easily traceable right to work records for each employee, which can be presented if required by the Home Office.
It is also important to note that the employer is ultimately responsible even if the procedure is conducted by another member of staff.
Consequences of failing to check
Failure to thoroughly conduct the Right to Work process puts your company at risk of a civil penalty if an employee is found to be unlawfully working in the UK. Illegal employment may result in a fine of up to £20,000 per employee.
Negative employee experience
Missing out important checks in the first instance or losing document copies will also make the process complicated and unsettling for your future employee.
Check with confidence
The Right to Work is a non-negotiable process for employers but it need not be a stressful one. Assessing and securely storing such sensitive documents for each employee is a time-consuming and high-risk process so having a tool which automates and simplifies the validation is essential for a robust, compliant Right to Work procedure.
The latest innovations in screening technology mean administration teams can benefit from a tool which gives them control and visibility over the validation process. Automatically uploading and validating employee documents against the Right to Work criteria will make the entire process more efficient, minimising inaccuracies and arming your company with transparent validation records.
Given that the employer is liable whether they have personally made the checks or not, companies should consider a system which ensures each Right to Work check is authorised by a designated individual. This ensures maximum transparency and business compliance.
In summary, following the guidelines below will ensure your business conducts a robust and compliant Right to Work process, which eases the strain on staff and prospective employees.
Checklist for the Right to Work
- Obtain, check and make transparent copies of your employee’s documents which provide proof of their right to work before they begin work.
- Enlist a screening tool which automatically validates employee’s proof of working documentation, quickly and accurately.
- Store documentation in a secure and GDPR-compliant manner.
- Re-run checks on any time-sensitive employee documents.