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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 4 Jul 2018 | 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]
I have been self employed all my life in the construction industry am I entitled to holiday pay
Hammy - 4-Jul-18 @ 10:14 AM
Hanksy - Your Question:
I am self employed and been layed off temporary but the won't inform me how long for am I entitled to claim anything off them?

Our Response:
The EntitledTo site here , should tell you all you need to know.
WorkingRights - 3-Jul-18 @ 1:53 PM
I am self employed and been layed off temporary but the won't inform me how long for am I entitled to claim anything off them?
Hanksy - 2-Jul-18 @ 11:24 PM
I recently got injured at work i am self employed,while scaffolding the fitting was of fault and I lost most of the middle of my finger i had a operation im now out of work for 6 weeks I asked them if it was possible to be paid a minimum day rate while off work as they were at fault they said no so now I've had no Choice but get a injury solicitor involved plus a loss of earnings
Dan - 30-Jun-18 @ 7:34 PM
My husband is self employed and has worked for the same company for around 3 years now. He never takes time off. We have had a holiday, in writing booked to which he has taken 10 days off (he usually works 7days a week @ 12 hours per shift) today, day 9 of his holidays he has had a call to come into work tomorrow (day 10- last day off) and they’ve basically said that if he doesn’t cut his holidays short, he will be ‘let go’ and they’ll find someone else. There have now been 3 phone calls now making this statement. Where does he stand? Surely this is against the law somewhere? It’s blackmail in my eyes and it’s so disgesrtening! He’s helped that company out so many times I can’t even count.
Shev - 30-Jun-18 @ 12:06 PM
@Robert Ade - if you are self-employed, there is little you can do.
GU - 29-Jun-18 @ 12:56 PM
John- Your Question:
I worked for a company for 1 year they encouraged me to go self employed now they have got no work for me they still owe me holiday pay from when I was employed am I entitled to it? As 2 days were bank holidays I worked I never had any holiday while I was employed so I have 21 days in total I was full time

Our Response:
If your ex employer has refused to pay you holiday pay owed, then you would have to take the matter to the small claims court if they continue to refuse, please see link here .
WorkingRights - 29-Jun-18 @ 10:58 AM
I worked for a company for 1 year they encouraged me to go self employed now they have got no work for me they still owe me holiday pay from when i was employed am i entitled to it? As 2 days were bank holidays i worked i never had any holiday while i was employed so i have 21 days in total i was full time
John - 28-Jun-18 @ 11:20 AM
I am self employed stylist and looking into starting my own business. Would i be able to take my client base with me to my new salon.
Sam - 27-Jun-18 @ 11:36 PM
Am a self employed driver working with uber foralmost 4yrs ago. my apps system was shirt down by uber and they send me a message that there is a customer complain in one of mypast trips and they will get back to me. They did not wrute specifically about the issue on even phone me, logged off my app and i have been left in redundny and thus is my source of mylivelihood with a pregnat wife. i went to their office they said they cannot di anything that poeple handling the matter is in dublin, you cantcall them. i dont know what to do but i know they are violating the law and i just need an advice of what do thruogh the law..
Robert Ade - 27-Jun-18 @ 10:29 AM
Minas - Your Question:
I'm working for a builder as self employed. I start 7:30 and finish 16:30. How many brakes I'm entitled to. I'm in hourly rate.Thank you

Our Response:
You would be entitled to a minimum of one 20 minute break (if you work nine hours). Only if you work more than 12 hours would you be entilted to another 20 minute break.
WorkingRights - 21-Jun-18 @ 11:10 AM
I'm working for a builder as self employed. I start 7:30 and finish 16:30 . How many brakes I'm entitled to. I'm in hourly rate . Thank you
Minas - 20-Jun-18 @ 12:32 PM
Working trough agency as self employed trade on site. Booked 34 hours for a shorter week(timesheet signed to site/client office). Getting paid for 29hours and client claims he has right to cut hours. How does it look in reality? Can client just cut my hours without any notice? I understand liability/retention/insurance side and got it covered along payroll. What would be the best course of action?
Sophist - 7-Jun-18 @ 7:03 PM
janey - Your Question:
Self employed.left my job.did put it in writing. company have not paid me my last wage.where do I stand legally?

Our Response:
If your previous employer is refusing to pay money owed, then your only recourse would be to take the matter to the small claims court, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 1-Jun-18 @ 11:17 AM
Sime - Your Question:
Hi I work as a self employed taxi driver in gloucester.I pay £115 per week to work on there system.I own all the the equipment required to work there data system.I am allowed to come and go as an when I want.when I want to go on holiday for some weeks they say I have to pay the weekly amount just to keep my place.is this legal as being self employed.

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract and what you have agreed to when signing it.
WorkingRights - 31-May-18 @ 3:25 PM
Self employed..left my job.did put it in writing. company have not paid me my last wage...where do i stand legally?
janey - 31-May-18 @ 10:21 AM
Hi I work as a self employed taxi driver in gloucester...I pay £115 per week to work on there system..I own all the the equipment required to work there data system..I am allowed to come and go as an when I want.when I want to go on holiday for some weeks they say I have to pay the weekly amount just to keep my place.is this legal as being self employed.
Sime - 29-May-18 @ 10:10 PM
Donna - Your Question:
I was self employed carer through an agency. They chose to phone me up a few days before my post claiming they were not using my services again without any explanations. In fact they put the phone done on me. Now nearly 5 months passed, they have not given me any reason in writing and not answered my letters. Should I not receive anything from them for my dismissal in writing? Thanks

Our Response:
You are only entitled to receive any payment outstanding to you in the form of earnings owed. You are not entitled to redundancy.
WorkingRights - 21-May-18 @ 12:30 PM
I was self employed carer through an agency. They chose to phone me up a few days before my post claiming they were not using my services again without any explanations.In fact they put the phone done on me. Now nearly 5 months passed, they have not given me any reason in writingand not answered my letters.Should I not receive anythingfrom them for my dismissal in writing? Thanks
Donna - 20-May-18 @ 8:32 PM
I have worked on a self employed bases for a family run business. Over the last few years my dad and brother have decreased the business so much that we had to at the staff go. I have not been paid for the hours I have worked over the last 2 years ( I was working 70 plus hours a week and came out with less than 6000 per year.) in the last financial year. I have had no say in the over all running of the business in so much as certain clients being turned away.we have recently sold this business which I was told was nothing to do with me I have not been paid since January and now they will not pay any thing to me and we are at risk of loosing the house. Is there any way I can force them to pay me back pay if what I was due? if this was over£10000 what would the course of action by please
ali - 15-May-18 @ 5:18 PM
ali - Your Question:
I have worked on a self employed bases for a family run business. Over the last few years my dad and brother have decreased the business so much that we had to at the staff go. I have not been paid for the hours I have worked over the last 2 years ( I was working 70 plus hours a week and came out with less than 6000 per year.) in the last financial year. I have had no say in the over all running of the business in so much as certain clients being turned away. we have recently sold this business which I was told was nothing to do with me I have not been paid since January and now they will not pay any thing to me and we are at risk of loosing the house. Is there any way I can force them to pay me back pay if what I was due?

Our Response:
You would have to take the matter through the small claims court (if it is under £10,000), please see link here .
WorkingRights - 15-May-18 @ 3:45 PM
I have worked on a self employed bases for a family run business. Over the last few years my dad and brother have decreased the business so much that we had to at the staff go. I have not been paid for the hours I have worked over the last 2 years ( I was working 70 plus hours a week and came out with less than 6000 per year.) in the last financial year. I have had no say in the over all running of the business in so much as certain clients being turned away.we have recently sold this business which I was told was nothing to do with me I have not been paid since January and now they will not pay any thing to me and we are at risk of loosing the house. Is there any way I can force them to pay me back pay if what I was due?
ali - 14-May-18 @ 9:54 PM
Hi. I am self employed but work for a big utilities company they send me on work based courses through the week and i have to attend for no pay at all that whole day or maybe more. Surely i should receive some sort of pay as this is a course they choose to send me on and not at my request?
Maj - 10-May-18 @ 9:41 PM
Sorry for lack of info.....work direct for a company but self employed basis, I’ve worked for same company for over a year, two days before I was dismissed I was asked for proof I wasn’t wel, I couldn’t make it in due to being sick, was sacked via txt msg that day!!! Was off work on an off with same problem for about 2 months before dismissal...
Smartin - 1-May-18 @ 4:13 PM
Smartin- Your Question:
Was recently let go from a job while I was off sick, with the company then Hiring new staff, do I have any rights???

Our Response:
On very little information, it is impossible to answer your question. Much depends upon how long you have been in your job and how you were dismissed. If you were self-employed you have no rights. If you were employed PAYE you may have some rights depending on the circumstances, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 1-May-18 @ 3:11 PM
Was recently let go from a job while I was off sick, with the company then Hiring new staff, do I have any rights???
Smartin - 1-May-18 @ 12:11 PM
Fedup - Your Question:
I'm self employed but work 99% for the same firm.I get no holiday or sick pay and I would like to know if im entitled to any of these benefits

Our Response:
If the article hasn't helped answer your question, the link here should.
WorkingRights - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:29 PM
I'm self employed but work 99% for the same firm .I get no holiday or sick pay and i would like to know if im entitled to any of these benefits
Fedup - 28-Apr-18 @ 8:14 AM
Hi, I was recently working for a company as a self employed carpenter. I had to leave because they did have any work left and I needed as stable employment as I possibly could find. The last two days I worked there I built a sliding door, however after I left and started working for another company the door looked like it was damaged, they are charging me for the labour it’s cost them and the materials to make a new one, Am I liable to pay?
K - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:37 AM
Wxmboyo- Your Question:
I have been working for a company on a self employed basis. He recently called me to tell me that my hours are being drastically reduced. I have found a new job and was wondering if I had to serve my notice period or if I could leave straight away. Most months I have been paid after the date stated in my contract which is a breach of contract. Could I use this breach as a reason to leave immediately

Our Response:
In theory, you would have to give notice in line with what it specified in the contract. If you wish to change this then it's best to negotiate directly with your employer.
WorkingRights - 23-Apr-18 @ 3:19 PM
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