Employers Reference Numbers (ERN’s)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations require all insurers to collect information on all employers covered by an employers liability insurance policy, including details of their Employers Reference Numbers (ERN).

Why does a business need an ERN with respect to insurance?

As a result of legislative changes, as of the 1st April 2012 a business will require an ERN when purchasing employers liability insurance. This is in order to definitively identify at which firms an employee has worked at in the event of a claim occurring significantly after the event.

What is an Employer Reference Number?

An ERN is given to every business that registers with HM Revenue and Customs as an employer. It is a unique set of letters and numbers used by the tax man and others to identify a firm. It is often referred to on tax forms as an employer PAYE reference.

What Does an ERN look like?

If the number was issued prior to 2001 it will look like – 123/A45678

If the number was issued after 2001 it will look like – 123/AB45678

Where can a business find their ERN?

The ERN will be on any correspondence that you have had from HMRC relating to PAYE, or it will be in the Yellow Booklet that you will have received when you registered with HMRC.

It will also be on any P45s, P60s, P11/D’s issued by your company or on most payslips.

If you outsource your payroll or use an accountant, they will have a record of your ERN.

If you cannot find the ERN, you can call HMRC Employer Helpline on 08457 143143 and they should resend the reference to you. Please note that this may take up to 10 working days.

Are any businesses exempt from having an ERN?

There are very few exceptions, so if you think that you may be exempt please contact us to discuss.

The only firms that are exempt are where the employer pays all their employees below the PAYE threshold (£503.00 monthly) or businesses registered in Guernsey & Jersey.


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