A local café business in Ashford has been fined for failing to hold statutory insurance that enables employees to claim compensation should they be injured at work.
Ash Catering Limited, trading as Ashford Café, based on Bank Street in Ashford town centre, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it established there was no valid Liability cover in place to protect employees of for the business as required by law.
What is Employers' Liability insurance?
Employers' Liability Insurance indemnifies a business against claims made against it by employees who have suffered injury or illness at work while in your employment and deem you responsible.
For example, an employee falls from a step-ladder and breaks her arm while stacking a shelf.
Liability cover and the Law
Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, any firm deemed to have employers must purchase Liability Insurance to protect the duty of care it owes to its employees.
Fines of up to £2,500 per day can be granted for breach of the act.
The business hadn’t “Catered” for Court Appearance or hefty fine!
Following a complaint and subsequent request to confirm cover, Canterbury Magistrates Court heard on 29th April 2014 that the firm had failed to produce a valid ELCI certificate.
A company director declined to be interviewed on the matter but later admitted in writing that she was unaware of the requirement to have the insurance.
Ash Catering Limited, of Bank Street, Ashford, was fined a total £400 and ordered to pay a further £400 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.
Health & Safety Executive - “Ignorance is not an excuse.”
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Joanne Williams said “As well as being a long-standing legal requirement, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance offers essential protection for employers and employees alike.
“Without it, if a worker becomes ill or is injured at work, they will not be able to claim compensation from the employer.
For employers, insurance covers the cost of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of a claim by a worker.
“Ignorance is not an excuse, and the failure of Ash Catering Limited to provide appropriate cover is a serious matter.
HSE will continue to take legal action against companies where who fail to provide appropriate ELCI cover.”
How do I arrange Liability Insurance for my employees?
While it is possible to purchase EL cover in isolation, for small to medium-sized businesses, it is standard practice to buy cover as part of a business insurance package or combined liability contract.
The cover is relatively straightforward to arrange and is usually based on either your number of employees or annual wage roll.
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