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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 18 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Self-employed Discrimination Health And

Employment legislation applies mainly to employees. The law protects the rights of these workers and prevents employers taking advantage of them.

Self-employed people work for themselves. A self-employed person is therefore not an employee. In general terms, employment legislation does not apply.

A self-employed person may, of course, employ staff and become subject to employment law. This situation does not alter the fact that the law, for the most part, does not cover anyone with self-employed status.

Discrimination

When it comes to discrimination, however, the self-employed have the same rights as other workers. Discrimination may relate to age, gender, marital status, Sexual Orientation, Pregnancy, gender reassignment, Disability, colour, race, nationality, Religion And Ethnic Background.

In reality, the way in which a self-employed person deals with discrimination may be difficult. Unlike an employee, a self-employed person does not have a manager or human resources department to discuss and complain about instances of discrimination.

If a self-employed person believes that discrimination is damaging his or her opportunities for work, one recourse is to contact a Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.

Health and Safety

The self-employed must assess Workplace Health And Safety Risks to themselves and others. This is a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Self-employed people sometimes work alongside other self-employed workers. If so, everyone has the right to expect that their fellow workers have assessed any health and safety risks.

Similarly, a self-employed person working on a client’s premises has the right to expect that the client has carried out a health and safety risk assessment. This assessment applies as much to self-employed workers as to the client’s employees.

Contracts With Clients

Some self-employed people sign contracts with their clients. These contracts contain details of rights and responsibilities.

These rights and responsibilities may not be part of employment law for the self-employed. The exceptions are references to discrimination and health and safety. A contract is more likely to focus on the specific work a self-employed person performs for a client.

The detail of these contracts differs from industry to industry. A self-employed person should be familiar with this detail. If not, it’s wise to study and fully understand a contract before signing.

Holiday Pay

Self-employed people do not have a right to holiday pay. Sometimes, however, a self-employed person works for a client who classes him or her as an employee. This may occur when an agency gives a self-employed person full-time work. The contract between the agency and the self-employed worker should have relevant pay details.

Encouragement

There are government schemes and incentives encouraging and helping people to become self-employed. No one should confuse this encouragement and help with rights.

The self-employed do not have a right to attend training courses or receive grants. Such help is at the discretion of the agency that administers it.

State Pension

Self-employed people have a right to a state pension. But they can only receive a state pension if they have paid the necessary national insurance contributions.

Responsibility for national insurance lies with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Once the self-employed have registered with HMRC, they receive regular national insurance invoices.

Welfare Benefits

Self-employed people on low incomes have a right to receive tax credits and certain welfare benefits.

Making a claim for tax credits and welfare benefits can be complex. HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can help. Specialist advisers at the Citizens Advice Bureau can also assist.

Illness

Generally speaking, the self-employed cannot receive statutory sick pay when they fall ill. If a self-employed person is sick, he or she may be able to claim employment and support allowance from DWP.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi I have been working as a self-employed manager for 3 months and my employer came in yesterday and told me I could not work there anymore due to issues I was having with the staff. He was unwilling to hear my side of the story. On taking the job I was promised a self-employed agreement with notice period for both sides but this never materialised. I have been treated as an employee with regard to regular rota, management control, and have been made to work in unsafe conditions. I left a good job as an employee to go to this company and I feel like I have been duped into leaving my old job for their selfish needs. They owe me money now which apparently will be paid next month as agreed (no agreement was made regarding timings of payment).
Fred - 18-Aug-17 @ 12:15 AM
Hi there I am working for amaZon flex driver for 4 months now. And this is the second time that i had a problem with depo guy and my account has been blocked because amzon felx only have email support team and to be honest they are good for nothing. They just send me an email that your account has been temporarily disable and will let you know in detail but since then no email has been recieved. And i am loosing money every day. Any help or suggestion?
Hh - 17-Aug-17 @ 9:05 AM
I have been doing the same job in the same place for over ten years as a self employed person , after all this time do I have any rights to ask for a contract or any holiday or sick pay etc
Mart - 16-Aug-17 @ 10:35 PM
I was working as a self employed sub contractor, £60 a day but working like 14 hours a day, have 4 kids, a house etc, making money stretch was ridiculous! My partner got offered a part time job for nearly the same amount of pay I was bringing home, so we both agreed to get part time jobs, to balance work & family between us. My partner got offered the job and could start the next day, but it would mean me looking after the twins for a while, so I told the company I was a subby for that I wouldn't be into work as of immediately. Friday of the same week came, I was not paid for my work the previous week!! Advice? Who do i contact to get this money!?
Help!? - 13-Aug-17 @ 8:30 PM
Carpenter - Your Question:
I'm self employed and a recruitment agency sent me to work for a company. This company asked me to work weekend without knowing the recruitment agency. I worked 3 weekends but I was not paid. I told the recruiting agency what happened, I got proof that I worked in the weekends, some txt messages between me and supervisor , but still don't pay me. What can I do?

Our Response:
You may wish to send a letter to the recruitment agency and your employer to say that if the money owed is not forthcoming by a specific date, then you will take the matter to the small claims court.
WorkingRights - 10-Aug-17 @ 3:14 PM
I'm self employed and a recruitment agency sent me to work for a company. This company asked me to work weekend without knowing the recruitment agency. I worked 3 weekends but I was not paid. I told the recruiting agency what happened, I got proof that I worked in the weekends, some txt messages between me and supervisor , but still don't pay me. What can I do?
Carpenter - 10-Aug-17 @ 8:24 AM
Chris 82 - Your Question:
Hi I was working for a company as a self employed HGV driver I made a small crack to the bumper of the vehicle.Last week when my invoice was due I received an invoice for damage to the vehicle and was paid £80 of my invoice and the rest was kept to cover the damage.Where do I stand with this?

Our Response:
You would have to have a read of the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see whether your employer allowed to make deductions. However, as a rule an employer can only make certain deductions without authorisation, please see link here for further information.
WorkingRights - 8-Aug-17 @ 1:58 PM
Hi I was working for a company as a self employed HGV driver I made a small crack to the bumper of the vehicle. Last week when my invoice was due I received an invoice for damage to the vehicle and was paid £80 of my invoice and the rest was kept to cover the damage. Where do I stand with this?
Chris 82 - 7-Aug-17 @ 6:12 PM
Mermaid - Your Question:
I have recently been off for 7 weeks due to injury at work. On my return they I formed me due to uncertainties of my absence length tbat my shift has been given to another and therefore im loosing £40 a week out of my income. Is this discrimination of my incapacity to work? I was on crutches.

Our Response:
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing what time of contract you are on. If you are on a permanent contract you may wish to give ACAS a call. If you are not, you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see where you stand regarding this.
WorkingRights - 7-Aug-17 @ 9:48 AM
I have recently been off for 7 weeks due to injury at work. On my return they i formed me due to uncertainties of my absence length tbat my shift has been given to another and therefore im loosing £40 a week out of my income. Is this discrimination of my incapacity to work? I was on crutches.
Mermaid - 4-Aug-17 @ 12:40 PM
Ashley - Your Question:
HiI started working for a self employed company, at my interview I was given the job spend 2 hours after interview training then resumed duties from the next day, worked 4 days with the employer and he then text me to say I am not suitable as I cannot be seen doing the job in long run basically I have 2 dependants and that's the reason I believe why.His initial email confirmed my salary and his given me the job, however when he ended my job on the 4th day he claimed I was under training period and their contract doesn't pay for training but I never signed a contract? His pay me £30 for 4 days work that's not right when I have been working 8am until 6pmDo I have any rights or can I obtain the pay I should deserve for 4 days? Sorry for the long message and many thanks

Our Response:
If you are self-employed, then you should send your employer an invoice for the time worked and the hourly rate agreed at the interview. If your former employer doesn't pay, then you may be able to take the matter to the small claims court, if you feel you have a case. You may also wish to seek some professional legal advice, the Citizens Advice Bureau may help you further establish whether you should take the matter further.
WorkingRights - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:02 PM
Hi I started working for a self employed company, at my interview I was given the job spend 2 hours after interview training then resumed duties from the next day, worked 4 days with the employer and he then text me to say I am not suitable as i cannot be seen doing the job in long run basically I have 2 dependants and that's the reason I believe why. His initial email confirmed my salary and his given me the job, however when he ended my job on the 4th day he claimed I was under training period and their contract doesn't pay for training but I never signed a contract?His pay me £30 for 4 days work that's not right when I have been working 8am until 6pm Do I have any rights or can I obtain the pay I should deserve for 4 days? Sorry for the long message and many thanks
Ashley - 1-Aug-17 @ 11:49 PM
hi im a self employed taxi driver i own my own car but rent the data i have been to pay my rent today only to be told it has gone up without any notice, this cant be legal
arl - 24-Jul-17 @ 10:49 AM
@Sally - if your employer is on a self-employed contract you can dismiss them without problem. They can only claim unfair dismissal if they are actual employees.
RYio - 20-Jul-17 @ 11:20 AM
I own a barbershop and have one member of staff that is constantly off sick not turning in when there supposed to and not following the phoning in sick prodecude. The person in particular has been told several times that we're not happy with them keep letting us down so often. What steps do I now take to dismiss this memeber of staff - please note staff member is self employed on a rent the chair basis , many thanks
Sally - 18-Jul-17 @ 8:55 PM
Please help as im not sure of my rights. Last year I was cleaning for a letting agency. Cleaning end of tenancy cleans. I wasn't paid for one house as we forgot to do the cooker. I do remember cleaning it but it was so bad a second application was done. The rest of the house was cleaned and unfortunately we did not finish the cooker completely forgot. The landlord went into the house before the letting agents went in to check we had cleaned properly. For that reason £100 was taken of the price we would have received.Previous times we would go back to rectify the problem and get paid.Have I the right to go back to get the money we were not paid as they never gave us the chance to sort the problem.
Bev - 14-Jul-17 @ 3:59 PM
Lewis - Your Question:
Hi I'm self employed and have been sub-contracting to the same company for 5 years 5 days a week do I have any rights to holiday pay in these circumstances ? Cheers.

Our Response:
Self-employed workers aren’t paid through PAYE, and therefore don’t have the employment rights and responsibilities of employees, please see gov.uk link here . Much depends upon the contract you have when defining whether you could be regarded as an employee. No knowing the details of your contract, you would have to seek professional advice to see whether you may have a case to answer.
WorkingRights - 13-Jul-17 @ 1:54 PM
Hi I'm self employed and have been sub-contracting to the same company for 5 years 5 days a week do i have any rights to holiday pay in these circumstances ? Cheers.
Lewis - 11-Jul-17 @ 5:58 PM
I am self employed and have worked for a company for over 12 months as a sales agent. Even thither there was no official contract in place there are emails confirming a small monthly retainer and commission.I have never received any commission during this time and when I chase the director I just get told he has no money or he's trying to find some. They owe me nearly 10k and they won't even pay me 1000 a month which is more than reasonable. What can I do to get my money as I am longer working as a result as I had to leave on my own accord as I could no longer work 40+ hours a week for a very small retainer. Please help.
Dibble1972 - 11-Jul-17 @ 7:38 AM
Furna - Your Question:
Hi, I am a self employed delivery driver working for one company only. I dont have a contract but I need to take some time off as I havent had any time off since last summer but company which I work for says I have to find someone to do my work while im away otherwise I lose my job. What can I do and what rights do I have in this situation?

Our Response:
If you have no contract then you are at the mercy of your employer and unfortunately you have no legal rights.
WorkingRights - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:24 AM
My husband worked for an estate agent on a self employed basis with no contract . They provided him with a company car but my husband had to insure it and pay the petrol also he was treated like an employee he got holiday pay and worked the hours he was asked. Due to financial difficulties my husband looked for other work and was successful in finding a new job. The estate agents found out somehow and dismissed him a day before pay day on the spot and said they won't pay him due to damage to the company car plus it was dirty and they are deducting 7 days holiday ... we are a young family and the missed payment has now made us fall behind on many important bills where does my husband stand? Is he entitled to his pay?
Palmtree - 6-Jul-17 @ 8:03 PM
Hi, i am a self employed delivery driver working for one company only. I dont have a contract but i need to take some time offas i havent had any time off since last summer but company which i work for says i have to find someone to do my work while im away otherwise i lose my job. What can i do and what rights do i have in this situation?
Furna - 6-Jul-17 @ 6:18 PM
Dusty - Your Question:
Iv left a tattooist and want to carry on working as tattooist in local area. My contract states that I'm unable to set up or work in 10mile radius of previous workplace within a year. Do I have actually have any rights to carry on working in the local area?

Our Response:
Restrictive covenants in an employment contract that attempt to prohibit a person from working in and/or setting up a similar business to the one they have just left are a tricky subject.The covenants are usually put in place for a length of time to stop you taking valuable and/or confidential information or clients to another competing business should you leave your current employer. If you breach the contract it means your former employer would have to go through the process of issuing legal proceedings against you which would be costly. However, if you ignore the restriction you are taking a gamble which can be costly for yourself too. If you decide to breach a covenant, then you should not do so without first taking professional advice. In a court of law, the restrictive covenant must not be any more limiting on the employee than is reasonably necessary in order to protect the employer’s business.
WorkingRights - 4-Jul-17 @ 10:03 AM
I am a self employed I am a master construction man. I have been working all my life and struggle at times well i was working for this man for about a month and he was paying $20 a hour at then end each week he never paid me a full week and would tell me to wait until next pay day and he pay me everything he owed me and i said okay knowing i had no choice! Well never happen and he has still has not paid me the due 250.00 I have called I have text over over again and he pretty much told me he was going to pay me. I work hard i have a wife and kids to take care of this has put my house hold into a very big bind. I have no money and I don't know how to get help with this please help me and my family.
John Bond - 4-Jul-17 @ 12:49 AM
Working as self employed for a company working as an outworker but Im being bullied by another fellow outworker and the person giving work out.She withholds work from myself making me financially unstable each month can you tell me is there anything I can do Ive complained to her boss already!
Poppy - 3-Jul-17 @ 11:11 PM
Iv left a tattooist and want to carry on working as tattooist in local area. My contract states that I'm unable to set up or work in 10mile radius of previous workplace within a year. Do I have actually have any rights to carry on working in the local area?
Dusty - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:23 AM
Benchef100 - Your Question:
I done a few days self employed chef work for a agency recruitment worth £326.00. They sent me a cheque which I cashed but in the mean time I stopped working for them and they cancelled the cheque. Do I stand any ground getting my money?

Our Response:
If you have put in the hours, then you should be paid for the hours (unless agreed otherwise). Therefore, if you think you are owed the hours you should firstly contact your previous employer and ask for the cheque to be reinstated. If your employer ignores you, you would then have to apply through the small claims court.
WorkingRights - 29-Jun-17 @ 11:27 AM
I done a few days self employed chef work for a agency recruitment worth £326.00. They sent me a cheque which I cashed but in the mean time I stopped working for them and they cancelled the cheque. Do I stand any ground getting my money?
Benchef100 - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:30 PM
@joner - they don't give you the destination of the customer? How does that work if you're a cab driver. 'Sin bin' what the.........sounds like school. If it forms part of your contract your employer can do it but it sounds pretty archiac to me. I'd be looking for another job mate.
Drew65 - 23-Jun-17 @ 12:54 PM
Denji - Your Question:
My husband has been contracting regularly for one company. If he only works for them will he after a particular length of time become automatically employed? he is being told by this company that after 6 months working with them he will become employed and be Paye and receive all holiday,sick benefits etc. My understanding is unless he signs a contract to hire agreement he can continue to contract as long as both parties are happy with the arrangement.

Our Response:
Both parties have to be happy with any arrangement put forward. If your husband does not wish to become employed permanently by the company, he would have to negotiate with his employer directly. The company may not wish him to remain as a contractor, or it may be that he can negotiate which contract he would prefer. Whatever he decides, it has to be via mutual negotiation.
WorkingRights - 23-Jun-17 @ 11:31 AM
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