Employee, Worker, or Self-Employed: Know your rights and liabilities

Are you an employee or worker? Are you a self -employed ‘contractor’?

Are you an employer? What are your rights and liabilities?

You may think you know the answer to these questions. But the answer may be different from what you imagine. Your position may be either better or worse than you think.

Difference in legal rights between ‘employees’ and ‘self-employed’

The former have certain rights such as the right to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy, maternity pay, holiday pay, statutory sick pay and others rights. The latter do not. Just to make things more confusing, there is a category in the middle, classed as ‘workers’, who have some of these rights, but not others.

Self-employed contractor recognised as a worker

In a leading case in the Supreme Court on 11 June 2018, it was decided that a plumber who had been working for Pimlico Plumbers Ltd apparently on a self-employed basis, paying with his own tax and NI, was still a worker for legal purposes.

He was therefore entitled to holiday pay and sick pay. This was mostly because of the degree of control exercised by the company over his work. He worked exclusively for Pimlico Plumbers Ltd, and drove their van, and wore the company uniform whilst at work. It was important that he was not acting as an independent entrepreneur, touting for work for himself for his own account.

This case reflects other decisions in this area involving drivers for Uber, Deliveroo, and Addison Lee.

In fact the Uber case is still continuing to the Court of Appeal and is yet to be heard. Other cases have been decided in favour of employers.

The crucial point of all of them, which should be borne in mind by businesses and individuals alike, is that the issue of ‘employment’ status is a factual decision in each case. It is a good idea to get professional advice about your position in good time, and have a reliable contract drawn up to reflect and solidify the true position.

However, even many lawyers who are not well-versed in employment law do not understand that even a contract cannot alter the legal position after the event, if the facts indicate that only a particular version of the legal position is correct on the facts.

We can help with either:

  • advising on how the law applies to your particular circumstances
  • drawing up a suitable agreement /contract
  • a dispute that has arisen on employment issues

If you would like advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact us directly by phone or email.

Contact our employment solicitor Kuldeep Clair directly:

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7822 8599

Mobile: +44 (0) 7484 61 4090

Fax: +44 (0) 870 23520 4427

E-mail: kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk