Employing family members



Around 75% of companies in Northern Ireland are classed as 'family-run' and family-run businesses in Northern Ireland employ around 52,000 people.

Many businesses employ family members but it is important to recognise that there are pros and cons to doing so. This guide outlines what to consider before employing family members, employing your partner, and employing young family members. Other issues to consider are family employees and health and safety and family employees and tax requirements.

Paying employed family members

You should note that a family member and/or relative must be hired to do real work at a commercial rate that is in proportion to their role. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may well question in detail any very high payments for simple work. In addition, HMRC may ask for evidence of payment to any family member, so it is essential that full records of all payments made are kept.

This guide also looks at how you can avoid common pitfalls helping you to minimise risks of employing family members and preventing communication breakdowns with family employees.