Licensing : Have you checked your employees’ right to work in the UK?

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Licensing : Have you checked your employees’ right to work in the UK?

The Birmingham Post has reported today (3rd April) on a pub in Wolverhampton losing its licence as a result of the hiring of a chef who had no legal right to work in the UK. Immigration officers had visited the pub, and The Home Office, Licensing and the Police stated the employment of the chef was a serious breach of the Licensing Objectives under the Licensing Act 2003. The Licensing Objectives include the prevention of crime and disorder.

The full article can be read here

The Birmingham Post report that the chef was being paid £200 in cash and had been there for up to 6 months. The raid happened as a result of an anonymous tip off.

As well as losing the pub’s licence the manager was fined £7,000. The licence holder has 21 days in which to appeal.

A Premises Licence is the permission needed for the sale of alcohol, provision of late night refreshment and most entertainment. It is therefore needed by pubs, restaurants, late night take-aways, night clubs and hotels among other venues.

This case highlights a serious issue for existing and new Premises Licence holders. It goes without saying that the loss of a licence will have a catastrophic effect on the business, often leading swiftly to total closure. After all what use is a pub who cannot sell alcohol or a late night restaurant who cannot open after 11pm?

This type of problem has often been before seen in late night takeaways or the restaurant trade and those business who rely upon casual labour. It demonstrates the crucial importance of ensuring that all employees, whether full time, part time or casual (no matter how many hours they work) are thoroughly checked for their right to work in the UK. This is a problem that is likely to become even more troublesome as we head for Brexit and leaving the EU.

Apart from loss of licence, and effectively the right to trade, those involved can also expect investigation by HMRC as often such workers are paid in cash without any NI or PAYE being paid.

Premises Licences are obtained from the local authority after submitting an appropriate application and giving notification to the public and relevant authorities by advertisement and erecting notices. Objectors have 28 days to submit any objection.

If you’d like to know more about this issue or any licensing matters please contact Peter Adkins from our Licensing team

Our Licensing Team is recommended within the 2019 edition of the Legal 500

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