Your rights if you’re employed, self employed or a worker

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What are your rights if you’re employed, self employed or worker – and how do you know what your employment status is? Find out.

Your rights if you’re employed

If you work for a company and you have to work a certain number of hours, your pay has tax and National Insurance deducted and you get paid holiday and sick pay you are likely to be an employee.

According to the Gov.uk website, if you work for a company or organisation, you’re probably an employee if most of the following are true:

  • You have to work regularly unless you’re on leave
  • You have to do a minimum number of hours and get paid for time worked
  • Your work is supervised by a manager or supervisor who tells you how your work should be done (and when it should be done by)
  • You can’t send someone else to do your work
  • Your employer deducts tax and National Insurance contributions from your wages
  • You get paid holiday
  • You’re entitled to sick pay and maternity or paternity pay
  • You can join your employer’s pension scheme (in fact, you may be automatically enrolled into it)
  • You work at the business’s premises or at an address specified by the business
  • Your contract sets out redundancy procedures
  • Your employer provides the materials, tools and equipment for your work
  • Your employment contract, uses words like ‘employer’ and ‘employee’.

Your rights as an employee

If you’re an employee, you have more protection than workers or people who are self employed. According to the Gov.uk website, your rights include:

  • Being paid the National Living Wage (unless you’re under 25 when you’re only entitled to the minimum wage)
  • Being protected against money being taken from your wages that shouldn’t be deducted
  • Getting the statutory minimum level of paid holiday (which is 28 days if you work full time)
  • Being entitled to the statutory minimum length of rest breaks
  • Having the right not work more than 48 hours on average every week or being able to opt out of this right if you want to
  • Having potection against unlawful discrimination
  • Having protection for ‘whistleblowing’
  • Having the right not to be treated less favourably if you work part-time
  • Having an entitlement to sick pay, statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay
  • Being entitled to minimum notice periods if you’re being dismissed or you’re being made redundant
  • Having protection against unfair dismissal
  • Having the right to request flexible working
  • Being able to take time off for redundancies
  • Being entitled to redundancy pay.

SAVVY TIP: You may not get all these rights on day one as in some cases you’ll have to work for the company or organisation for a minimum period first.

Are you a worker?

You might not be familiar with the employment term ‘worker’ but it’s useful to be aware of the rights you have. You may not be an employee, but it doesn’t mean you’re self employed. The employment tribunal in the Uber drivers’ case ruled that the two taxi drivers were workers, rather than self-employed drivers.

You’re likely to be a worker if:

  • You have a contract to do some work (but it doesn’t have to be a written one)
  • You are paid for the work you do or there’s a benefit to you doing the work, which may be the promise of a contract or future work.
  • You have to turn up for work even if you don’t want to
  • You have to do the work for as long as your contract lasts (unless either side decides to end it)
  • You have limited rights to send someone else to do the work
  • You don’t do the work as part of your own limited company where the ‘employer’ is a customer.

SAVVY TIP: You can be a worker and be on a zero-hours contract. If you’re a casual worker then your contract will normally say that it’s for freelance or casual work, or that your contract is zero hours, which means the employer isn’t obliged to offer you any work and you’re not obliged to take it.

Your rights as a worker

If you’re a worker, you have some of the rights that an employee has, but not all of them. They include:

  • Being paid the National Living Wage (unless you’re under 25 when you’re only entitled to the minimum wage)
  • Being protected against money being taken from your wages that shouldn’t be deducted
  • Getting the statutory minimum level of paid holiday (which is 28 days if you work full time)
  • Being entitled to the statutory minimum length of rest breaks
  • Having the right not work more than 48 hours on average every week or being able to opt out of this right if you want to
  • Having potection against unlawful discrimination
  • Having protection for ‘whistleblowing’
  • Having the right not to be treated less favourably if you work part-time.

You may also be entitled to sick pay, statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay

Are you self employed or a contractor?

You’re likely to be self employed if:

  • The person or company you work for agrees a fixed price for your work, you can work for more than one client
  • You can decide what work to do and when to do it.
  • You are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance
  • You don’t get sick pay or holiday pay
  • You’re not eligible to join a workplace pension scheme.

Your rights if you’re self employed

You don’t have many specific rights if you work for an organisation and you’re self employed, however, you have two basic rights:

  • You have protection for your health and safety – namely you shouldn’t be asked to do something that’s unsafe.
  • You may have protection from discrimination.

SAVVY TIP: Anything else will be set out in your self-employment contract.

Related articles:

How to ask for a pay rise — and get it

How to get a better work/life balance

Maternity rights at work; what are your pregnancy rights at work?

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