Employers’ Liability Certificate: What you need to know

Authored by Hiscox Experts.
4 min read
signing a document certificate

Employers’ liability insurance is the one form of business insurance that is compulsory for almost all companies in the UK. To demonstrate that you’re adhering to the law, you must display your employers’ liability certificate, which provides proof of cover.

Read on to find out more about what an employers’ liability certificate is and how and where it should be displayed.

What is an employers’ liability certificate?

An employers’ liability certificate is a document that is provided by your insurer when you take out a policy. It is used to prove that your business holds valid employers’ liability insurance. The certificate outlines the details of your policy, including what level of cover you have. Displaying evidence of this cover is a legal requirement for all UK employers.

How to display your employers’ liability certificate

Legally, your employers’ liability insurance certificates must be on display in a prominent place in the workplace, or digitally. All employees must be able to access the certificate. Failure to do so, or refusal to make it available to a staff member when asked for, could result in a £1,000 fine[1].

You can exhibit your employers’ liability certificate somewhere like a hallway or staff room, as long as everyone in the business can access it. You may wish to place it alongside other documents you have on display in the workplace, such as:

  • Your public liability certificate – this is not required by law, but can provide reassurance to employees and customers[2]
  • Health and safety law poster[3]
  • A list of trained first aiders in the building, and their contact details[4].

If you’d rather not present the hard copy, you can share a digital version of your employers’ liability certificate via the company intranet or in a shared drive. An electronic copy can also meet legal requirements, on the basis that all staff know where to find it. The location of the certificate should be listed in the employee handbook or employee policy.

Also, remember to replace the certificate with an up-to-date version if you have altered or renewed your policy.

How long do you need to keep your employers’ liability insurance certificate?

While you’re not obliged to keep old certificates from previous years, there’s no harm in filing them away as a record of your prior policies.

Employees, or ex-employees, can submit a claim years after an incident occurred if it subsequently led to an injury or illness later. For example, long-lasting back problems, or symptoms of asbestos exposure.

In this case, you’ll be required to provide proof that you were insured at the date of the incident — this can be found on your employers’ liability insurance certificate.

What certificates should be displayed by the employer?

There are many certificates and documents an employer should have on display, either in the workplace or digitally. These range from those required by law, to those expected by customers and staff.

Health and safety law poster

The health and safety law poster from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) displays British health and safety laws and lets both employers and employees know what to do in the event of an incident[5]. As well as displaying the poster in a prominent place, you should also provide all your employees with a leaflet explaining health and safety law5.

First aiders information

You will need to display a list of all the first aiders in your building, as well as where to find them and any first aid equipment[6]. You may also want to include any relevant contact details4. This document should also detail all first aid procedures that are in effect in your workplace6.

Public Liability Certificate

It’s not required by law that you need to display your public liability certificate but most firms with the cover will display it as it can reassure customers.

An overview of employers’ liability insurance

Compulsory for almost all UK businesses, employers’ liability insurance is designed to protect a company from the risks associated with hiring employees. This insurance can cover the costs of compensation payments or legal action if an employee alleges they were injured or became ill as a direct result of the work they do for your business. This could include anything from tripping at work and hurting themselves, to asbestos poisoning.

Under the 1969 Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act, all businesses with employees must have at least £5 million of employers’ liability cover, or they are at risk of being fined up to £2,500 a day until they can prove they have sufficient cover1.

Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Sole traders who employ no staff (unless they have less than a 50% share in the business)
  • Public organisations
  • Family businesses that only employ close relatives (unless the company is incorporated as a limited company).

Get the full lowdown on the Employers’ Liability Act with our blog.

If you’re not sure if you need to hold employers’ liability insurance, then consult an expert as soon as possible to ensure you meet legal requirements. Learn more about employer’s liability insurance

Visit the Hiscox Employers' Liability FAQ Hub to find answers to queries on employers' policies, such as how much does employers' liability cover cost and what level of protection is right for your business.


[1] https://www.gov.uk/employers-liability-insurance

[2] https://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-blog/public-liability-certificate

[3] https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/managing/poster.htm

[4] https://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/what-employers-need-to-do.htm

[5] https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/display.htm

[6] https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg214.pdf

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Hiscox Experts

The Hiscox Experts are leaders valued for their experience within the insurance industry. Their specialisms include areas such as professional indemnity and public liability, across industries including media, technology, and broader professional services. All content authored by the Hiscox Experts is in line with our editorial guidelines.