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Am I an Employee? What Does This Mean?

Your employment status is important for a number of reasons including which statutory employment rights you get and how much tax and National Insurance you pay. 

Whether you are an employee, a worker or self-employed is not an easy question to answer. There is no one clear test, but all there are some factors you can look at which can point you in the right direction, including:

  • your working obligations 
  • your integration within the company 
  • the amount of financial risk you bear
  • the amount of control you have over the business and your work.

For help in determining your employment status and, therefore, what employment rights you have you should contact an employment solicitor. They will be able to offer you expert legal advice after considering all the relevant factors.

What Does My Employment Status Mean?

Your employment status determines which statutory employment rights you are entitled to.

Employees have employment rights (most notably rights that apply when your employment has been terminated), workers have some employment rights and self-employed people have very few employment rights.

Your status also defines how much you need to pay in National Insurance contributions and tax.

Self-Employed Employment Rights

Self-employed people do not have a contract of employment with an employer. Instead they have what is sometimes called a contract of service, or are an independent contractor.

If you’re self-employed then you are in effect your own boss. As such, you can give yourself as much or as little holiday as you like and set the amount you charge for the work you do. You must pay your own tax and National Insurance Contributions.

For those who are self-employed, your contract is key – you have few rights other than those which are set out in your contract. If you’re self-employed you do have the right to a safe working environment when you’re on a client’s site. Plus, if you are obliged to provide your services personally (i.e. not sub-contract the work or send an employee to do it) you have the right not to be discriminated against at work.

Workers’ Employment Rights

Workers often have temporary or short-term contracts or work on a casual basis. The definition of a worker includes the need to provide work personally.

Workers have fewer statutory employment rights than employees but more than the self-employed. As a worker, there is a right to the minimum statutory holiday entitlement. You also have the right to the National Minimum Wage and protection against unauthorised deductions from your pay.

If you have suffered at work because of whistleblowing you have the right to bring a claim. Workers are also protected from unlawful discrimination.

Employees’ Employment Rights

If you are an employee, you get all of the statutory employment rights provided you have the required length of service in some cases.

As an employee with more than two years of service you have the right to not be dismissed unfairly. You also have the right to be consulted collectively with other employees if there are more than 20 redundancies in the workplace. As with any redundancy situation you also have the right to redundancy pay. Employees have the right to statutory and often contractual sick pay.

Plus you can qualify for Shared Parental Leave and pay as well as maternity/paternity/adoption leave and pay. Employees also have the right not to suffer unlawful discrimination.

Whatever your employment status you can contact the employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon for legal advice on employment law issues. Call us any time 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.

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