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Tell us your Employer PAYE Reference Number or let us know you're exempt

Because you have chosen Employers' Liability cover we need you to tell us your Employer PAYE Reference Number or confirm that you are exempt.

It is important that you provide your Employer PAYE Reference Number to us so we can identify which companies an employee previously worked, for in case they make a claim against you and liability needs to be established.


  • Every business that registers with HMRC as an employer receives an Employer PAYE Reference Number (or PAYE number). It’s a unique set of letters and numbers used by the taxman to identify your business.

    Your PAYE number is made up of two parts: a three-digit HMRC office number, and a reference number unique to your business. It’ll usually look something like 123/A45678 or 123/AB45678 (although there can be exceptions).

    It's not the same as your ten-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number or your accounts office reference number, which is made up of 13 characters, in the format 123PA12345678. The first three digits will be the same as your PAYE number.

  • HMRC sends out an employer's welcome pack when you register with them, including a yellow PAYE Payslip booklet. Your number is on this booklet.

    If you've only just registered, remember it can take up to 14 days to receive your number.

  • HMRC needs your ERN in a number of different circumstances. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need it when you come to complete your end-of-year PAYE return. An invalid or missing ERN is one of the most common reasons end-of-year returns are rejected – you’ll need to know this number to meet your statutory reporting obligations.

    It’s also likely that you’ll be asked for your ERN by an employee at some point. Employees often need their Employer’s PAYE reference number when applying for tax credits (or Universal Credit), applying for Student Loans, and a few other tasks. You may also be required to include it on payslips.

    It's important to have your ERN to hand when you buy Employers’ Liability insurance. This is so you can identify the firms an employee has worked at if there's a claim a long time after the event – for example, in the case of mesothelioma claims relating to exposure to asbestos.

  • If you've lost your PAYE Number, check any PAYE-related correspondence you've had with HMRC, as well as P45s or P60s for your previous or current employees.

    Can't find any record of it? This may mean you're not registered as an employer. If this is the case and you already employ someone, or intend to, you'll need to register with HMRC immediately.

  • The Employers' Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) has set up a database to help employees identify their past employers' insurers, making it easier to claim. You’ll therefore need your ERN when you buy Employers' Liability insurance.

    This is so you can identify which firms an employee has worked for in case they make a claim against you. Say they develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos and claim you’re responsible. Using ERNs, it’s easy to see where else that employee has worked (and, for the sake of this example, find out they were only exposed to asbestos in their previous job).

Employment reference number (PAYE number) | ERN | ELTO

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