In the United Kingdom, legislation is in force which places the responsibility on employers, to arrange insurance cover for injury to employees. The original legislation was the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. There have been revisions and amendments since 1969. However, the base legislation is largely unchanged. The act states that, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, whilst at work. One of the obligations, placed on employers by the act, is to inform employees that cover is in force. Whenever a new business insurance policy is taken out, or renewed, which includes employers liability, a certificate will be issued. The insurers produce and issue these certificates, which need to be in an agreed format.
In years gone by, a single paper certificate was issued, usually in A4 or A5 format. Nowadays, most insurers will issue this electronically in a PDF (portable document format) file. The insured company can then choose whether to print a hard copy.
The legislation used to state that the certificate of employers liability insurance was displayed at each place of business. For multi-location businesses, the same certificate is used for all sites.
In 2008, the law was changed to remove the need for a physical certificate to be displayed at each business location. This change recognised the growth in the use of electronic documents and communications.
The business still had to display their certificate electronically. Employers need to ensure that their employees are advised how and where to find this certificate. The law is also clear that employees need to have reasonable access to the certificate. Emailing a copy of the certificate to your employers is not considered as displaying electronically. Storing a certificate electronically so only certain members of staff have access to it, is not considered reasonable access.
If a business has its own extranet, which only employees can view, this is where a certificate should be kept. As long as every employee has access to the extranet and there is a clear link to the current certificate, this would be suitable.
In reality many employers continue to display their certificate at each business premises, even when they have an electronic option available. It is a good way to demonstrate that a business or liability insurance policy is in force.
If you have any questions about your employers liability insurance certificate, you should speak to your business insurance broker.