I recently advised a client who was concerned about their employment status. Essentially, there are three categories of individuals who provide their services in the job market – Employee, Worker, and a Self-employed contractor. Understanding your employment status is critical to understanding your legal rights and protections. Please read on to find out more.
This blog aims to explain the different types of individuals in the job market – Employees, Workers, and Self-employed contractors and the different rights and protections which attach to each status.
In assessing the different categories, any Employment Tribunal or court will look at the reality of the situation (i.e., what happens day to day between the parties) not just what is expressed in an agreement. Therefore, even if you have signed a document stating you are self-employed, for example, this may not be the case. Each case is incredibly fact specific and therefore a detailed assessment of your situation needs to be conducted.
Therefore, whilst we hope this blog is helpful in explaining the different employment categories, if you are unsure of your employment status we would be delighted to help. Why not contact us for a no obligation, free consultation? Simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Am I An Employee?
An employee is someone who works under a contract of service to their employer. Importantly, such contract can be implied in a relationship, and, in fact, does not necessarily need to be in writing.
However, some key elements in establishing employee status include:
- Establishing a contract (verbal, implied or in writing) of service (often an employment contract) between both parties.
- A mutuality of obligations – i.e., your employer is obliged to provide you with work and pay you. You are obliged to carry out that work in exchange for that payment.
- Your employer has a degree of control over you – for example, this can include controlling the hours you work, how much you are paid, when you work, how integral you are to the business, who else you can work for, what you wear at work, driving a specific vehicle etc.
- Your employer is responsible for dealing with any relevant tax and national insurance contributions associated with your remuneration (PAYE deductions).
If you are deemed an employee, you have the most legal protection of the three categories. This includes rights in relation to not being unfairly dismissed (depending on your length of service), being paid minimum wage, entitlements to holiday pay, sick pay, protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, and rights if your employment is transferred from one employer to another.
Am I A Worker?
A worker will not have quite the same relationship with their employer as an employee, but will still be subject to a greater level of control than someone who is self-employed. They have a wider definition than an employee, as above. Essentially, a worker is someone who has either entered into:
- A contract of service (as above); or
- Another contract where they promise to personally perform any work or services for another party to the contract, who is not their client or customer.
There is much debate about who falls into the definition of worker. One consideration is whether the individual must perform the work personally and whether, for example, there is any limitation on who can be sent as a substitute instead. Other important considerations include how the individual operates within the business, the level of control exerted over them, how/if they are integrated into the business and how they are paid.
The blurred lines appear most frequently when considering whether an individual has (wrongly) been treated as a worker but is actually an employee. Or, alternatively, an individual who has been treated (wrongly) as a self-employed contractor but is actually a worker.
If you are worker, you do not have all the protections and rights of an employee. However, you are more protected than a self-employed contractor. You have rights in respect of being paid minimum wage, holiday pay, protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, for example.
Am I Self-Employed?
If you are genuinely a self-employed contractor, you have very few legal rights and protections in employment law.
Essentially, an individual who is self-employed is in business for themselves. They decide what work to do, how to do it and when to do it. They likely work for more than one client and can, if they wish to do so, provide someone else (of their choosing) to do the work. After completing the work, they will then usually invoice for the work provided.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
Understanding your employment status is crucial to understanding your legal rights and protections. Being treated as the wrong employment category (for example, as a self-employed contractor instead of a worker), can potentially give rise to several (and sometimes very high value) Employment Tribunal claims.
If you are unsure about your employment status, however, it is important you act fast. This is important as Employment Tribunal claims have very strict time limits.
If you are unsure of your employment status, we would be delighted to help. Please contact us for a no obligation, free consultation. Simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
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