We use Cookies - by using this site or closing this message you're agreeing to our Cookies policy

The noose tightens on the self employed

We have case after case now of ‘self-employed’ people being considered to be workers. It started with the Uber case and since then we’ve Deliveroo and Citysprint cycle carriers and other less high profile decisions. The definition between self-employed and ‘worker’ is important as it is the difference between receiving (and not) paid holiday, sick pay, family entitlements etc.

We have case after case now of ‘self-employed’ people being considered to be workers. It started with the Uber case and since then we’ve had Deliveroo and Citysprint cycle carriers and other less high profile decisions. The definition between self-employed and ‘worker’ is important as it is the difference between receiving (or not) paid holiday, sick pay, family entitlements etc. (for a full explanation see our article on the Uber case.)

Added to the steady flow of cases is the recent Taylor report which calls for enhanced rights for those in the ‘gig economy’ and a growing group of lobbyists seeking to influence the Department for Work and Pension’s enquiry into self-employment and the gig economy.

All of this adds up to a sobering message for those of us who choose to engage staff under self-employed contracts – unless they are genuinely self-employed and work freely for others there is a very real risk that they’ll be regarded as workers or employees and have the right to claim benefits including paid holiday. Any failure to apply those benefits may be retrospectively compensated in a tribunal or court decision – in the case of holiday, going back 2 years.

Even if the current rules do confirm that our self-employed staff are really self-employed it is likely that the rules are going to change anyway, closing the gap between a worker and a self- employed person in the future.

The moral of this story? If you have self-employed people and you want to avoid a claim the best way is to have a really good look at your contracts, and if they appear vulnerable, convert them to ‘worker’ or ‘employee’ status now (via new contracts) and provide the benefits that this change requires. Once 3 months has elapsed from the old terms the worker (or employee) cannot then bring a claim as they will be out of time.

myHRdept is happy to work with new and existing clients to review their staff contracting arrangements and to minimise risk.

If you're thinking of outsourcing your HR why not contact myhrdept.co.uk. With full service Premium Plus packages from only £140 per month (and start-up packages from just £70 per month) and fixed price HR support options available for one-off issues, we believe we offer the best combination of quality and price available in the UK. Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements or email us and we’ll call you back.