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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 15 Dec 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]
NannygramSylvia123 - Your Question:
I work self employed.I work a 24 hour shift for £50,this includes evening and weekend.Out of the £50,I have to provide 3 meals a day.a bed and heating,I often have to do personal care,And deal with medication,I work through a concil.i like my job,but feel very undervalued.

Our Response:
Please see the National Minimum wage link here. If your employer is paying you below these rates, then it is not deemed legal. If employers break the law they can be fined. Plus, you as an employer should be able to claim financial recompense. You may wish to give ACAS a call in order to explore your options.
WorkingRights - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:48 PM
I work self employed.I work a 24 hour shift for £50,this includes evening and weekend.Out of the £50,I have to provide 3 meals a day.a bed and heating,I often have to do personal care,And deal with medication,I work through a concil.i like my job,but feel very undervalued.
NannygramSylvia123 - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:31 PM
@Chris - many people are contracted and/or self-employed. They usually are paid a higher rate that factors in that they don't get paid for hols. It's a tricky one, if you have been self- employed but working for the same ‘employer’ for two years that sometime during that period the employment relationship has changed from that of contractor to subcontractor to that of employer and employee (if you're doing work and you don't have the option to refuse it). I'd check with ACAS and ask whether you're considered employed or not.
Mart - 14-Dec-17 @ 12:29 PM
I'm classed as self employed but have been working for a company for over a year now I've had no holiday as I can't afford the time off as I'm classed as self employed!!! The company hired me and I work for them full time basically I've had two days off all year and worked a full week for 52weeks × except for the two days I had off unpaid in a accident at work whilst working for this company. I've worked most weekends as well for them I work buy there rules times my van has a tracker as its theres exc exc. There must be a law or some entitlement holiday pay rule. I didn't even want to be self employed it's the way they wanted to do it. Just a loop hole for them to get away with not paying any benefits to me. There must be a law or something I can do to stop being treated in this way. Please could someone advise me or help me in to receiving what I should be entitled to. RGS chris
Chris - 13-Dec-17 @ 12:02 AM
Hez - Your Question:
I am a self employed singer and work with a company doing karaoke/ cabaret. They have given me a zero hours contract. They don't pay holiday pay and I only get 4 weeks off per year.I have handed in my notice and they've said I Need to work 4 weeks notice. Even although they don't give me work every week.

Our Response:
The length of notice you are required to give will be contained within your employment contract. Whether you keep to this arrangement is up to you.
WorkingRights - 12-Dec-17 @ 3:15 PM
I am a self employed singer and work with a company doing karaoke/ cabaret.They have given me a zero hours contract.They don't pay holiday pay and I only get 4 weeks off per year.I have handed in my notice and they've said I Need to work 4 weeks notice.Even although they don't give me work every week.
Hez - 12-Dec-17 @ 1:00 PM
JimmyMc50 - Your Question:
Hello.I desperately need some advice if possible.I am a sole trader (self employed) chiropodist who has had his own business since October 2016. As the workload increased I considered getting help in Jan/Feb 2017. The idea was to take someone on as a self employed associate in their own right - essentially renting my clinic space for a 60/40 split of the profits 1 day a week.I was put in contact with someone and emails were exchanged and we met up a couple of times. I took her in one afternoon to trial her out with the patients but unfortunately she did not meet the required standard. My email to advise her that I wouldn't be taking her on as an associate was naively written in order to let her down gently without dashing her confidence and telling her how appalling she was.Now 10 months later I'm being threatened with a claim that a previous email could be constituted as an employment contract and that I am in breach.I realise that I've only provided the basics regarding this situation but was wondering how this looks legally and if indeed she does have a case?Thanks in advance for any help or advice you may be able to give me. Jim.

Our Response:
Much depends upon what you promised her in the initial emails. You would be advised to re-read what you have written and seek some legal advice in order to explore your options.
WorkingRights - 8-Dec-17 @ 10:45 AM
Hello. I desperately need some advice if possible. I am a sole trader (self employed) chiropodist who has had his own business since October 2016. As the workload increased I considered getting help in Jan/Feb 2017. The idea was to take someone on as a self employed associate in their own right - essentially renting my clinic space for a 60/40 split of the profits 1 day a week. I was put in contact with someone and emails were exchanged and we met up a couple of times. I took her in one afternoon to trial her out with the patients but unfortunately she did not meet the required standard. My email to advise her that I wouldn't be taking her on as an associate was naively written in order to let her down gently without dashing her confidence and telling her how appalling she was. Now 10 months later I'm being threatened with a claim that a previous email could be constituted as an employment contract and that I am in breach. I realise that I've only provided the basics regarding this situation but was wondering how this looks legally and if indeed she does have a case? Thanks in advance for any help or advice you may be able to give me. Jim.
JimmyMc50 - 7-Dec-17 @ 10:58 AM
I am self employed double glazing salesman but among other things I am forced to work weekends in the showroom when nobody else is working. Management will not pay staff to do this. Salesmen cost nothing. Is this correct
Charlie2703 - 29-Nov-17 @ 8:59 PM
LOU - Your Question:
Hello. Im after a bit of advice! Im a self employed fitness instructor. I freelance at about 8-10 different gyms. One of the gyms I work for has repeatedly missed off classes, and when I receive my remittance at the end of the month there is usually 1 to 3 classes missing. Therefore Im out of pocket. I have been very understanding and waited until the next month, to find they have been missed again. I complained to the manager and she passed me onto the duty manager who started to get defensive and told me to leave. I was only trying to get what I am owed.Do they as a company still have to pay me even though I left suddenly?Any advice would be appreciatedThanks Lou

Our Response:
If you have worked the classes and are owed money, then the gym should still pay you. If the company will not pay you the money owed, then you would have to apply via the small claims court, please see link here , which should explain all you need to know. Before you apply to the small claims court, you should send a letter to the gym, stating that if the money is not paid by a specific date (you should usually give them a few weeks grace) then you will take the matter further.
WorkingRights - 28-Nov-17 @ 10:43 AM
Hello... Im after a bit of advice! Im a self employed fitness instructor. I freelance at about 8-10 different gyms. One of the gyms I work for has repeatedly missed off classes, and when I receive my remittance at the end of the month there is usually 1 to 3 classes missing. Therefore Im out of pocket. I have been very understanding and waited until the next month, to find they have been missed again. I complained to the manager and she passed me onto the duty manager who started to get defensive and told me to leave. I was only trying to get what I am owed. Do they as a company still have to pay me even though I left suddenly? Any advice would be appreciated Thanks Lou
LOU - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:06 PM
I am a self employed music teacher who teaches with music services plus teaching at home. All my pupils who i home teach sign a contract that out lines they have to commit to a term lessons and have to give a month's notice ifthey no longer wish to have lessons . My reason for this is because I teach a set amount of lessons per term and I divide the cost over 4 months. The parents of a pupil that i have been teaching for 5 years at home decided not to continue lessons with me when he started high school, however his parents gave me no notice, and when I contacted them to see why he hadn't come for his lesson their response was it no longer convenience to come to me for lessons. I completely appreciate when pupils move on and have no issue with that but they did not give any notice and when I reminded them of the contract they response was they had not signed anything for this year. I said it's a rolling contract that only gets resigned when my fees change. I did send them a letter reminding them of their commitment and gave them a copy of the contract they signed. I have not had a response. Do I have any rights or am I wasting my time?
Lucy - 26-Nov-17 @ 11:59 AM
Danny - Your Question:
I have been working for a company on a self employed basis for 3 and a half weeks, they stated I have to work for 30 days before I receive pay, I am leaving the company to start in an employed job. I got a contract from them but it never stated how much I will be paid, it was only discussed verbally. How do I go about getting what is owed to me.

Our Response:
Most people work a month in hand (a month up front), you should be paid what you are owed. You may have to speak to your employer about this directly.
WorkingRights - 17-Nov-17 @ 10:57 AM
I work as a self employed courier. I'm provided work by a distributor. I've worked with them for almost 2 years and have recently started getting fines for late deliveries which I know nothing about, to my knowledge I've always delivered everything within the allocated time slots. I'm not given an invoice until after I've been paid (I'm assuming that's so I can't query anything) and when I ask what the fines are for they can't tell me what I've delivered late. Can someone just clarify whether they are allowed to take money from me without even telling me when I've already done the work for them?
51145 - 16-Nov-17 @ 8:26 PM
I have been working for a company on a self employed basis for 3 and a half weeks, they stated I have to work for 30 days before I receive pay, I am leaving the company to start in an employed job. I got a contract from them but it never stated how much I will be paid, it was only discussed verbally. How do I go about getting what is owed to me.
Danny - 16-Nov-17 @ 12:03 PM
I rent chair at a barberhop.i am self employed. The owner at the shop got a bad review on Yelp form a client of mine and and he isbasically trying to force me to refund my client or I will be kicked out. Would like to know my rights here please.
Billy - 13-Nov-17 @ 10:27 PM
I am a self employed crane operator. The company I was working for are withholding an invoice for£1080 because I damaged the boss's car with their crane which I was insured by them to drive. They are retaining my payment based on the fact that the cost of repairs will exceed what they owe me. Can they do this?
Pod - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:13 PM
I worked for a company as self employed for 16 months last week they let me go as they have know work now they are refusing to pay me even after there have had there invoices through me. Is there a law on how long I have to wait for payment
Birchmere - 10-Nov-17 @ 9:49 AM
Simp - Your Question:
I’ve worked for a double glazing company for 15 years on a self employed basis as a salesman. 3 years ago the sons took over the business I get paid commission on my sales of 10% suddenly one of the sons said my service are not required anymore. That’s fine but they still owe me over £9,000 once the jobs have been filled. The problem is one of the sons has decided there is no money in any of the jobs although I’ve sold them at the prices required and I will not be getting paid. I have never had a contract. How can I go about getting my money. I have copies of all my sales. Please help I’m desperate

Our Response:
You may wish to either seek legal advice, or send a letter to the company requesting the money owed is paid in full by a specific date and if it is not, you will be applying to the small claims court. You don't say whether the jobs have been carried out and/or at what point you usually get paid commission (as per your contract terms). But, if the new bosses have reneged on the terms and/or might attempt to do the work without paying you, then you have a strong case to follow this up. Some professional legal advice may be worthwhile.
WorkingRights - 9-Nov-17 @ 11:58 AM
I’ve worked for a double glazing company for 15 years on a self employed basis as a salesman. 3 years ago the sons took over the business I get paid commission on my sales of 10% suddenly one of the sons said my service are not required anymore. That’s fine but they still owe me over £9,000 once the jobs have been filled. The problem is one of the sons has decided there is no money in any of the jobs although I’ve sold them at the prices required and I will not be getting paid . I have never had a contract . How can I go about getting my money. I have copies of all my sales . Please help I’m desperate
Simp - 8-Nov-17 @ 5:22 AM
Hi I am a self employed class instructor at a gym been there for 6-7 years a new self employed instructor started last year and has slated my classes and is bullying me by intimidation started with filthy looks now she stomps about slamming equipment down around me, sitting outside in her car watching and revving her engine with her lights on full beam on me, what shall I do? What can I do besides leave?
EP - 3-Nov-17 @ 8:23 AM
I am currently working for a company self employed and have been for 3 years along side employed employees. I have been trying to get on the books for the last year but they keep ignoring my request. Is there anything I can do to get taken on permanently as I know they still are employing people direct?? Thanks
Baz - 1-Nov-17 @ 9:58 AM
I work for a company self employed. I got a phone call yesterday stating that I need to go to a new site because the site I’m working on my supervisor cscs card ran out and he’s in the process off getting a new one. This morning I got to my new site. They said they don’t need me. Is it my fault I ain’t got work? I need to work to pay rent ect. I’ve spent 15 pound on travel. All I ask for advise please because I’m losing out on money
Dom - 31-Oct-17 @ 11:13 AM
My son has been working as a self employed trades man for a company, he has been there over a year, he has now been told he will have to work a week in hand, can they do this? also his working week is from Friday to Thursday inc, he has always put his weekly time sheet in every Thursday and has been paid on the Friday morning now he is being told that he will have to wait until close of business on the Friday to get his money, should his pay be transferred into his account first thing Friday morning as this is the start of his next working week. thanks
mumsy - 27-Oct-17 @ 3:10 PM
I am a self employed beautician & rent a room within a busy hair salon. I'm have been doing this for just under 4 years now and recently having problems with not having full control over my advertising. My landlady is trying to advertise me under her business name which I do not agree on as I am insured under my own business name. I'm a bit unsettled as she is making it look like two separate beauty businesses within tge hair salon and don't know what my rights are. The lady has just put a printed sign above my door in the salonwhich my customers can see and it's got her logo on and not my own. I thought as I am self employed that meant I would have full rights on my own business (treatments/pricing/opening hours/ advertising etc) Sometimes i think she is getting confused with employed and self employed. I would be most grateful for any advise. Thanks.
Tilly - 25-Oct-17 @ 8:35 AM
i am a private hire driver and do work for a firm who get contracts from the local council. im paid a price per job. six weeks ago they increased the job prices , today they have told me it will be reduced back down because the council wont cover it. are they allowed to do this. i do not have any sort of contract with them and have worked for them for 10 years
pataxi - 21-Oct-17 @ 7:08 PM
Jay - Your Question:
I've worked for 1 firm for over 2 years as self employed, I fill in timesheets and work their hours and go where I'm told working along side employed members , however they have just told me they have no work for me and let me go.Should I of been entitled to holiday pay, redundancy or more?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, self-employed people work for themselves. A self-employed person is therefore not an employee. In general terms, employment legislation does not apply. You can see more via the CAB link here.
WorkingRights - 19-Oct-17 @ 11:47 AM
I've worked for 1 firm for over 2 years as self employed, i fill in timesheets and work their hours and go where I'm told working along side employed members , howeverthey have just told me they have no work for me and let me go. Should I of been entitled to holiday pay, redundancy or more?
Jay - 18-Oct-17 @ 12:00 PM
R - Your Question:
I am self employed and work all hours in a business I pay rent for (rent room from the shop owner) I have been told I can only work certain hours even though I pay a 5 days a week. That I am getting hours capped so cannot work early or late hours. Surely being self employed she can’t decide what hours I can and can’t do.

Our Response:
You would have to check and contrac/agreement you signed regarding employment and tenancy. If you have not signed any agreements, then you have no rights and you wish to find another place to run your business from.
WorkingRights - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:00 PM
I am self employed and work all hours in a business I pay rent for (rent room from the shop owner) I have been told I can only work certain hours even though I pay a 5 days a week. That I am getting hours capped so cannot work early or late hours. Surely being self employed she can’t decide what hours I can and can’t do.
R - 8-Oct-17 @ 11:41 PM
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