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Worker Employment Status and Rights

As a rule, a worker would be a person who undertakes work or services for an employer. Workers may be working under a contract of employment - but not always.

WORKER: Generally, you would have ‘worker employment status’ if:

  • You have a verbal or written contract (or an arrangement) to do work or services ‘personally’ for a reward.
  • Your ‘reward’ is money or a benefit in kind (e.g. promise of work or a contract).
  • You have limit rights to send another person to do the work (such as subcontracting).
  • You must turn up for work (whether you want to or not).
  • Your employer provides the only work you have while a contract or arrangement lasts.
  • You do not carry out the work as part of your own limited company where the ’employer’ is a client or a customer.

Worker Employment Rights

There are core work rights and protections afforded to all ‘workers’. Though very similar for employment status purposes, not all workers get classed as employees. As a rule, these groups would have worker status (but not employee status).

  • Most freelancers
  • Short term casual workers
  • The majority of agency workers

Under UK labour laws workers have entitlement to certain employment rights. Thus, a worker would get:

In many cases having worker status in the United Kingdom means you may also have entitlement to:

Note: The agency workers regulations 2010 mean they have certain rights from their first day at work.

As a general rule, workers will not get the usual entitlement to:

Casual Work and Irregular Working Patterns

All other things being equal, an individual is more likely to have worker employment status if some or all these apply:

  • They carry out occasional work for a specific client or business.
  • The business is not compelled to offer them work and the person does not have to accept it. In simple terms, they only work when they want to.
  • They have a contract with a business that uses terms such as:
    • Casual.
    • Freelance.
    • Zero hours.
    • As required.
  • They had to make an agreement (verbal or written) with the terms and conditions of a business to get the work.
  • A manager or a director generally supervises their working procedures. Likewise, they cannot send another person to do the work instead.
  • A business deducts National Insurance contributions and tax from their pay or wages.
  • A business provides them with equipment, materials, or tools so they can perform the work.

Employment Status Worker: Rights of Workers in the United Kingdom