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1.If I employ a ‘subbie’ who dictates what insurances he must have?

If you engage any sub contractor then it is your responsibility to make sure the correct insurances are in place. Whether you directly engage a ‘Labour only’ sub contractor or appoint a ‘Bona Fide’ subcontractor, the ultimate contract is between yourself and your customer (the Employer) and therefore the ultimate liability rests with you.

2.What insurances are, if any, mandatory ?

Employers Liability and Motor Third Party Liability are the only compulsory insurances required by law. Public liability is a voluntary insurance however it is essential for contractors and the Employer will commonly ask for evidence that this insurance is in place before any works are undertaken.

3.At what stage should the insurances be checked? At order or at payment time ?

The insurance should be thoroughly checked before the start of any contract. If the activities of a business change then the insurance should be amended to meet these changes.


4.Are there different insurance rules for different types of subbies, companies , individuals , partnerships etc

Limited Companies, Individuals and Partnerships are all legal entities in their own right and the same rules apply throughout.

As far as insurance is concerned, there are essentially  two different types of sub contractor.

A ‘Labour only’ sub contractor – is an individual / group of individuals who are engaged directly by yourself, you control their work an in effect act as their employer. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the relevant insurance cover in place (Employers Liability)

A ‘Bona Fide’ sub contractor – these are completely separate companies or businesses  that you bring in to carry out specialist works on your behalf. These businesses control their own work should have there own separate insurance policies in force. However, it is still your responsibility to check these to ensure they provide equivalent cover to your own policies as the contract is still between yourself and your customer and you could be ultimately liable if the sub contractors insurances were to fail.

5.If I use a subbie without insurance is this illegal ? who polices this ?

As far as ‘ Bona Fide’ sub contractors are concerned, this is not illegal and will not be policed by anyone except yourself. If you appoint a ‘Bona fide’ subcontractor and they are trading without the relevant insurance in place they could be prosecuted, and in the event of a claim you may end up picking up the legal liability.

All your ‘Labour only’ sub contractors are considered as employees for the purposes of Employers Liability insurance and would be covered under a standard Employers Liability policy. This cover is compulsory and you could be prosecuted for not having a suitable policy in force.

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