Home > Employment Issues > What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 28 Apr 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
J80 - Your Question:
Im self employed and was working for a company and had my wages witheld until the job has been signed off which isnt going to happen due to other peoples work not work I have done can they withold my wages

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of the contract you are working under.
WorkingRights - 28-Apr-17 @ 2:40 PM
Im self employed and was working for a company and had my wages witheld until the job has been signed off which isnt going to happen due to other peoples work not work i have done can they withold my wages
J80 - 28-Apr-17 @ 12:32 PM
I'm a self employed cleaner working 16 hours a week and my hubby is employed working 38. We have a 2 year old and get child tax credits. What happens if I work less hours one week due to a client cancelling me short notice?
LJ - 23-Apr-17 @ 9:11 AM
Ruth - Your Question:
I am a self employed cleaner, if I accidentially break an object in a customers home am I liable for it? no contract has been signed

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see what it specifies regarding breakages.
WorkingRights - 20-Apr-17 @ 9:52 AM
I am a self employed cleaner, if i accidentially break an object in a customers home am i liable for it? no contract has been signed
Ruth - 19-Apr-17 @ 1:22 PM
@Cass - most people have to work a week in hand.
Rob&8 - 18-Apr-17 @ 1:52 PM
I am self employed and started working for a company as a contractor and they told me on the day I was ment to be paid it was a week in hand so I wasn't paid for that week if I'm self employed do I have to work a week in hand is this correct?
Cass - 18-Apr-17 @ 4:42 AM
Elvino - Your Question:
Self Employed worker. Was due to start Driving Course on 10-04-2017. Made company aware. it never started my biss does not answer phone at weekends. Did not go to work 10th 04. Was told on 10th I am Sacked. Do I have any rights.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, a self-employed person is not classified as an employee as they are not paid via PAYE. Therefore, employment legislation and protection does not apply, please see gov.uk link here, which should give you more information.
WorkingRights - 12-Apr-17 @ 9:46 AM
Mr B - Your Question:
I've been working constantly self employed for the same company for 13 years requesting several times for employment. I've been told what the rate of pay is, what work is given out for the following week on a Thursday, have to request permission to take holiday and told that if I look for work elsewhere would never get any work with the company again. New management have come in and my job has now been made redundant. Have I any rights?

Our Response:
In many cases a company will require a worker to sign a contract stating they are self-employed. Yet, the worker in reality still works for a single employer but is denied all the rights of an employee. I can only advise you to give ACAS a call to see whether you may have any rights, dependent upon what sort of contract you were on.
WorkingRights - 11-Apr-17 @ 12:27 PM
Self Employed worker. Was due to start Driving Course on 10-04-2017. Made company aware.. it never started my biss does not answer phone at weekends. Did not go to work 10th 04. Was told on 10th i am Sacked. Do i have any rights.
Elvino - 11-Apr-17 @ 6:08 AM
I've been working constantly self employed for the same company for 13 years requesting several times for employment. I've been told what the rate of pay is, what work is given out for the following week on a Thursday, have to request permission to take holiday and told that if I look for work elsewhere would never get any work with the company again. New management have come in and my job has now been made redundant. Have I any rights?
Mr B - 10-Apr-17 @ 1:08 PM
I work as s self employed agent for debt collection I am told what to do and whento do it I have been in the debt industry for 25 years and now its working out at 2,67 a hour should this be changed to employed because all the agent s can not make a living
greg - 7-Apr-17 @ 7:14 PM
Self employed cleaner wiv an agencey. Wages paid through them. Refusin to pay my last wage that i have already done the work for
Lynnie - 7-Apr-17 @ 11:56 AM
I work for a contractor delivering parcels we had been given 20 days holiday lastyear now we have been told he is no longer giving holidays to the drivers also does the contractor who I work for have a duty of care under any health and safety to make sure the work we do is do able without causing stress to the drivers ie meaning make use do to many deliveries that we don't get a break or puts us under to much pressure to get the job done and if you fail take monies from your wages Would like some help please
Doddy - 6-Apr-17 @ 8:31 PM
This is a question im working as a self employed dog handler i have a sub contract agreement. I was told at interview that prebooked holiday would be hounred just to give enough notice i emailed the dates shortley after startin nothin was said. Recentley i resent the email to the manager that interviewed me know he says holidays during christmass are not allowed. But im classified as self employed so if i refuse the work durin that period what action can the company take.
Bobby - 1-Apr-17 @ 3:14 PM
stet1970 - Your Question:
I'm currently a self employed ops manager running a site contracted to deliver parcels for a blue chip online retailer. Due to operational changes made by decisions of the business owners I've decided to look for alternative employment. Recently the senior ops manager's son has been given a job as a manager. He is aware of my intention to look for other work and today I have been threatened and he has issued an ultimatum this morning that if I am looking for another job I must give my notice immediately.Given that in a normal employed role this would be classed as workplace harassment but seen as I am self employed what rights do I have

Our Response:
Much depends upon your contract and the terms of it regarding dismissal, which you would have to re-read. You can also see more via the ACAS link here.
WorkingRights - 28-Mar-17 @ 2:02 PM
I'm currently a self employed ops manager running a site contracted to deliver parcels for a blue chip online retailer. Due to operational changes made by decisions of the business owners I've decided to look for alternative employment. Recently the senior ops manager's son has been given a job as a manager. He is aware of my intention to look for other work and today I have been threatened and he has issued an ultimatum this morning that if I am looking for another job I must give my notice immediately. Given that in a normal employed role this would be classed as workplace harassment but seen as I am self employed what rights do I have
stet1970 - 27-Mar-17 @ 9:04 PM
Lou - Your Question:
I've been working for the local village hall for 7 years as self employed with a contract I've been told it finishes 24 April and if I want to reapply for the same job doing the same duties plus a few more things I can. What rights if any do I have.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, you have few rights if you are self-employed. You would have to read the terms of your contract to see what it says about your employer's rights to terminate your work.
WorkingRights - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:41 PM
I've been working for the local village hall for 7 years as self employed with a contract I've been told it finishes 24 April and if I want to reapply for the same job doing the same duties plus a few more things I can . What rights if any do I have .
Lou - 22-Mar-17 @ 12:50 PM
If I am self employed by a dental practice cans the practice enforce non-compete?
Happy - 16-Mar-17 @ 8:11 PM
I have been working for a courier company delivering parcels, On Friday I had my works van stolen with parcels on board, Van was later recovered with some parcels missing. The culprits were caught on Saturday. The company have been deducting goods internist every month since I started work with them. I was suspended from work since Monday and today I have been told my contract has been terminated. My wages were meant to be in my account today but I have been told they are not paying me a penny. i have no rent money or even to pay for any bills. is this Legal considering I have been paying goods in-transit insurance through them. PLEASE PLEASE IS THERE ANY 1 WHO CAN HELP ME I AM SO SO STRESSED CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT THAT I AM OWED
droxley - 9-Mar-17 @ 5:38 PM
I've worked fir finance company fir 10 years I've been told my role as a self employed agent will no longer be needed I will finish July 1st gave I any rights
Shaz - 8-Mar-17 @ 10:09 PM
@Westy - if you want a lunchbreak and you are self-employed then you give yourself a lunch break whenever you want!
Doug - 6-Mar-17 @ 2:27 PM
I'm self employed and work 8hours am I entitled to a lunch break?
Westy - 5-Mar-17 @ 9:38 PM
I am self employed construction worker.By accident knocked a wall down at work.Probablycostlyto repair. The people I work for have doped my pay basicallyleft me with no money to buy food or pay rent.can they do that?
TMN - 3-Mar-17 @ 7:52 PM
I am self employed construction worker.By accident knocked a wall down at work.Probablycostlyto repair. The people I work for have doped my pay basicallyleft me with no money to buy food or pay rent.can they do that?
Mark - 3-Mar-17 @ 7:50 PM
Hi I am a self employed suppliers agent selling to wholesale who sell on to contractors and end users My question, If a product which I sell for a company in good faith goes wrong and that company then gives The customer a credit, can they take the money back from me even though the fault for being faulty is not mine, So what I'm saying is they give the commission and say 6months later the credit is issued and they deduct that from my pay. Any advice is gratefully appreciated
Baldy - 3-Mar-17 @ 7:26 PM
I have worked for a finance company on a self employed basis for 23 years only to be informed by letter that my role as a collection agent will no longer exist from July 2017. If I stick around until then then the company will pay me 20% of my commission only income earned in the previous 13 weeks as a sweetener to encourage me to maintain my high level of performance.Can I claim redundancy pay based on my 23 years?
Ladybug - 28-Feb-17 @ 10:20 AM
Hi, I am being asked to pay £4100 because I failed to provide four weeks written notice before signing up with the company who the agency provided my services to. I am self employed and was being threatened by the agency that the company I now work for will stop employing agency staff. I asked to be matched to another organisation but was told by the agency they will not source work for me. So in desperation to pay the bills I signed up with the company directly. Commission for the agency was demanded from me which I paid and now a year later they're saying I owe £4100 due to breach of contract. Do I have a legal standing in this matter? Please advise.
Nini - 24-Feb-17 @ 5:19 PM
Hi My husband is self employed working for an agency who provide its services to a bank. He was sent to mandatory training far from home which incurred in excess of £130 travel fees which he was told would be reimbursed. He has been chasing after this since December. He has now been told he will not be reimbursed because what the agency thought was the agreement with the bank was actually not. Can the agency refuse to reimburse my husband?
tZx - 24-Feb-17 @ 5:11 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkingRights website. Please read our Disclaimer.