Employers’ Liability Certificate: What you need to know

December 14th, 2018 .
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.

What is an employers’ liability insurance certificate?

An employers’ liability certificate is a document that is provided by your insurer when you take out a policy to prove that your business holds valid employers’ liability insurance. It 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 insurance certificate

Legally, you must display employers’ liability insurance certificates in a prominent place in the workplace, where it can be accessed by all of your employees. Failure to do so, or refusal to make it available to a staff member when asked for it, could result in a £1,000 fine.[1]

You can exhibit the certificate somewhere like a hallway or staff room, as long as everyone in the business has access to at some point or another. You may wish to place it alongside other documents that you’re also obliged to have on display in the workplace, such as your public liability certificate, health and fire safety certificates, and a list of trained first aiders in the building.[2]

If you’d rather not present the hard copy, you can share a digital version of your certificate via the company intranet or in a shared drive. An electronic copy can also meet employers’ liability certificate 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.[3]

How long do you need to keep your 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.[4]

Employees, or ex-employees, can submit a claim years after an incident occurred if it subsequently led to an injury or illness later down the line – 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 an employers’ liability insurance certificate.

An overview of employers’ liability insurance

What is employers’ liability insurance? Compulsory for almost all UK businesses, it is a form of business insurance, designed to protect a company from the risks associated with hiring employees. This form of insurance can cover the costs of compensation payments or legal action in the event that an employee alleges that they were injured or became ill as a direct result of the work they do for your business. This could include anything from tripping over 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 cover.[5]

Exceptions to this rule include sole-traders who employ no staff (unless they have less than a 50% share in the business), public organisations, and family businesses that only employ close relatives (unless the company is incorporated as a limited company).

In order to stay on the right side of the law, it’s important to be aware of the insurance requirements in the UK. 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 requirement.
For more immediate information, visit the Hiscox Employers' Liability FAQ Hub. You’ll 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 (external link)

[2] https://www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/liability-insurance/displaying-employers-liability-certificate (external link)

[3] https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2016/10/what-is-an-employers-liability-insurance-certificate-and-when-you-should-display-it/ (external link)

[4] https://www.hine.co.uk/blog/employers-liability-certificate-display/ (external link)

[5] https://www.gov.uk/employers-liability-insurance (external link)

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

Hiscox insures over 400,000 UK businesses (based on the number of policies sold in 2021), has a Defaqto five-star rating and is the proud winner of the Feefo Platinum Service award (2020-2022), rated by real customers.