Employment status is not always straightforward and, where issues arise, you will need to assess specific situations carefully.
What is an employment status?
Employment status is the legal classification of an individual’s working relationship with an organisation, determining their rights, responsibilities, and entitlements as an employee, worker, or self-employed contractor.
Your employment contract will not always be conclusive, as in any dispute, the employment tribunal would look at your actual day-to-day working relationship with your employer.
Our expert employment team will give you clear advice on issues that may arise from any issues with your employment status.
The three categories of working
The distinctions between each are important, as each category may have different levels of rights and protections.
An employee is defined as “an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under) a contract of employment.”
You are likely to be an employee if:
You have been given an employment contract
You work regular, steady hours every week
You can not substitute someone else to perform your work
You have a manager or supervisor responsible for your work
You are paid regularly, subject to PAYE for all hours you work.
Employees are entitled to a wide range of rights such as protection from discrimination, Statutory Sick Pay, statutory leave, minimum notice periods and the right to request flexible working. Employees who have over two years’ service have additional rights, such as unfair dismissal protection and entitlement to redundancy pay.
A worker is defined as: “an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under): a contract of employment, or any other contract… whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally…”
You may be a worker if:
You work casual or irregular hours
You are not obliged to accept or perform work
The employer is not your customer or client
The employer provides your equipment to work
Workers are entitled to employment rights including National Minimum Wage, paid holidays, and protection against discrimination.
You are likely to be self-employed if:
You are in business on your own account and have full responsibility for your business
You have control over the hours you work and services you supply
You supply your own equipment
You submit invoices for the work you undertake
Be aware that if you are a contractor, you may still be classed as a worker or employee if you are employed by an agency.
A self-employed individual will not have the wide range of employment rights. However, they will still have protection for health and safety and may be afforded protection against discrimination in certain circumstances.
What can I do if I think my employment status should be different?
In the first instance, it may be worth approaching your employer for an informal discussion about your concerns. If you feel the issue is still unresolved, you can consider raising a formal grievance or pursuing a complaint in the tribunal and we can assist with all of these steps.
In any event, determining your employment status can prove tricky and as it has a significant impact on your employment law rights, it is important to seek expert advice. Contact our Employment Team for more information.