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Employment status

Employment law is an ever changing complex area of red tape and a key area regularly discussed by the Government.  One topic that keeps recurring is surrounding ‘workers’ rights and the crack down on those businesses incorrectly labelling ‘workers’ as self-employed.

There are a number of different employment statuses which include:

  • employee
  • self–employed or a contractor
  • director
  • worker

The latter term of ‘worker’ is being used more often, but many employers are unsure what employment rights a ‘worker’ is entitled to or what even deems an individual as a ‘worker’.

The Governments actual definition of a ‘worker’ is regarded as an individual who has a contract or other arrangement in place to complete work or services where they are rewarded, either with money or a benefit in kind.  But what does that really look like?

‘Worker’ status is where most of the following apply to an individual’s circumstances:

  • they occasionally do work for a specific business;
  • they only work when they want to, they can choose whether to accept the work;
  • their contract (if they have one), makes reference to ‘casual’, ‘freelance’, ‘zero hours’, ‘as required’ or similar;
  • they agreed with the business’s terms and conditions to work – either verbally or in writing;
  • they are managed, supervised or have a direct reporting line;
  • they can’t send someone else to do their work;
  • deductions such as Income Tax and National Insurance contributions are made from their wages;
  • materials, tools or equipment are provided to do the work.

Those individuals where the majority of the above points apply should have an employment status of a ‘worker’ and as such they are entitled to certain employment rights which include being paid the National Minimum Wage as well as accruing the statutory level of paid holidays.  In addition, they may also be entitled to other statutory payments such as:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay
  • Shared Parental Pay

With the above benefits, ‘workers’ do not usually qualify for notice periods if their employment ceases or any Statutory Redundancy Pay.  In addition a ‘worker’ does not have rights to request flexible working or time off for emergencies.

Under certain circumstances casual and self-employed contractors can be classed as ‘workers’, which means that these employment rights would apply.  A common example of where someone self-employed might be deemed as a ‘worker’ is where they continually work for a particular client or agency.

There is no one thing that can completely determine what your employment status is, making the ‘worker’ status a grey area for many.

If you are unsure if someone should be classed as a ‘worker’ then contact our Employer Services team who will discuss the circumstances with you.  Call us on 01228 711888 to learn more.

Posted: July 3rd, 2017

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