Employer Reference Number - quick reference guide

Where cover for Employers Liability is provided under your policy, in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations, it is a requirement that we are provided with your Employer Reference Number (ERN) or alternatively confirmation that you are exempt.

Is my business exempt?

In all cases where PAYE is operated, an ERN is allocated to the employer and an ERN applies to all UK businesses employing one or more people.  A minority of employers do not have an ERN, including those that:


  • Pay all employees below the Lower Earnings Limit*, none of the employees has another job and none of the employees is in receipt of a sate or occupational pension or other employee benefits, or;

  • Are registered in the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands (these have no tax presence in the UK)

* For more information on ERNs or the threshold limits, see the HMRC website​

What should i do if my business is exempt?

If your business does not have an ERN you must contact your insurance broker and advise them accordingly.

What if my business is not exempt?

You must provide your insurance broker with all ERN numbers relating to both your primary business and where relevant any subsidiary companies.

The ERN is found on many documents including P45, P60, P11D and many payslips.

ERNs will normally begin with three numbers (representing the tax office whose catchment area the employer falls into) followed by a forward slash and then a combination of letters and numbers e.g 123/AB12345