Employing family members


Over 74 per cent of companies in Northern Ireland are classed as 'family run' and family 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. Among the variety of issues to consider are employment status, tax and National Insurance deductions, health and safety, training and development, succession and benefits.

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

This guide looks at how you can avoid common pitfalls and minimise the risks associated with the employment of family members.