There has been a great deal of reporting about employment status in the news recently. In reality, this might not be something you think about when everything is going well. However, if things go wrong or you find yourself in dispute with your employer, your employment status will have a significant impact on what options are available to you.
What Is Employment Status?
Most people at work will fall into one of three categories. Those are Employee, Worker or Self-Employed. It is important to correctly identify what your employment status is, as this will determine what employment rights and protections you have.
When looking at employment status, the Employment Tribunal will consider each case based upon the specific facts of an individual’s employment circumstances. It is not enough to simply look at the contract of employment or written agreement. What needs to be considered is the reality of the working relationship when looking at all aspects of the arrangement.
Are You An Employee?
An employee is defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996 as “an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment”.
A contract of employment can be a written or verbal contract between the between the parties. As stated above, a contract of employment is not the sole feature of an employee.
The basic criteria for an employee are:
- The employer has the obligation to provide the work and the employee is obliged to accept the work.
- The employee is obliged to personally accept this work. This means they do not have the power to send a substitute in their place.
- The employer controls what work the employee does and when and how they do it.
- The employee receives a fixed rate of pay which is set by the employer.
Are You A Worker?
A worker is defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996 as “an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment or any other contract where they undertake to perform personally any work or carry out a service.”
A worker is commonly identified as being in the middle of an employee and self-employed individual. There is still the requirement for there to be a written or verbal contract in place and for the worker to personally perform work or a service. However, a worker is typically seen as being more independent than an employee. Therefore, they are afforded some employment law protection but not as much as an employee.
Are You Self-Employed?
A self-employed individual has total autonomy over their work and duties. The usual criteria for a self-employed individual are:
- The work for themselves/have their own business
- They set their own hours of work
- They have the ability to send a substitute in their place if they cannot work
- They set their own duties / tasks and have the power to refuse to work
- They set their own rate of pay and will personally invoice others for their work
- They bring their own tools or equipment
Why Is It Important to Correctly Identity Employment Status?
The type of employment law protection you have will depend on your employment status.
An employee is afforded the maximum amount of protection. They have the ability to bring a wide range of claims including: unfair dismissal, discrimination, unlawful deduction from wages, and breach of contract.
A worker is afforded limited protection. For example, the right to receive holiday entitlement, the right to be paid national minimum wage, breach of contract and the right to bring discrimination claims.
Self-employed individuals do not have the ability to bring employment law claims but can pursue breach of contract matters in the civil courts.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are experiencing employment problems or are unsure of your employment status and would like further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation, initial phone call on 01522 440512. For more information on the services we offer, please see our website: Employees – LincsLaw Employment Law Solicitors – Based in Lincoln
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors