Duty of care

  • Occupational health
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Duty of care advice guide for employers from Peninsula Business Services UK. Employers call us today on 0800 0282 420.

All employers are legally bound to ensure that their employees are not exposed to unreasonable harm at work, both physical and psychological. This covers all employee tasks and responsibilities, including health and safety regulations and protection from bullying, harassment and stress. As such, an employer’s duty of care manifests itself in a number of different ways:

  • Providing health and safety training
  • Providing specialised equipment (e.g. protective clothing)
  • Dealing with staff grievances promptly
  • Taking allegations of misconduct seriously
  • Protecting staff from discrimination
  • Ensuring staff do not work excessive hours

The business case

Not only is duty of care a moral and legal obligation for all employers; it also makes sound business sense. It is in the best interest of any organisation to promote positive internal relationships and build a healthy working environment for their people because this contributes greatly towards higher staff engagement and productivity. When people feel that their health and wellbeing is a priority, their loyalty towards the company strengthens and staff retention is likely to improve as a result.

Breaching duty of care

Should an employer fail to provide the necessary duty of care, or fail to resolve a staff grievance efficiently, an employee may claim that the employer has breached their duty of care. This often has a detrimental effect on the employee’s sense of value and worth within the company, and is not conducive to high performance in the long run. If the employee deems the breach serious enough, they may also choose to resign or claim constructive dismissal through an employment tribunal.

Duty of Care: The Acas guidelines

While certain aspects relating to the health and safety of employees are easy to spot as part of risk assessments, the full parameters surrounding an employer's duty of care are not always immediately obvious. If this is the case, the Acas guidelines on duty of care can help to clarify the range of factors at play. We know from experience that top employers don't just do the bare minimum; they ensure that staff feel happy, have sufficient resources and are engaged with their work on a daily basis. This way, employers can build greater trust between employee and the business, and instill a greater sense of commitment among their best talent.

The law behind duty of care

The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 documents all necessary employer provisions as part of their duty of care, and has been in place for some time.


  • An employer has a duty of care for their employees that covers both physical and psychological wellbeing.
  • As well as being a moral and legal obligation, duty of care is conducive to a positive working environment and long term productivity.
  • Breaching this duty of care may result in serious repercussions for the business, such as a claim for constructive dismissal if the employee feels they have no option to resign.

  Duty of care is directly related to the following aspects of employment: Grievances Harassment


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • a woman looking stressed at a desk with paperwork in front of her


    Employee Burnout

    Read our guide where we'll discuss what employee burnout is, the causes of it, and how to prevent it from happening in your company.

    Peninsula Team Peninsula Team
    • Occupational health
  • two women stood up giving a presentation, laughing in front of a note board and other women


    Neurodiversity in the Workplace

    In this guide, we'll look at what neurodiversity is, different types of conditions, and how to provide support for neurodiverse employees.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Occupational health
  • a welding worker


    Welding Risk Assessment

    In this guide, we'll discuss safety hazards, risk management, and adequate control measures for welding.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Risk Assessment
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and health & safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.