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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 20 May 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]
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
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
Wxmboyo - 23-Apr-18 @ 12:02 AM
Samj - Your Question:
I have been a self employed / sub- contracted carpet fitter for 16 years now. I do private work but predominantly wOrkney from a local carpet firm. They have made us sign a fitters agreement in order to secure work through them. Recently I was 'let go' and have had issues with them since. I know I have no grounds for unfair dismissal but this has been my largest source of income for many years now and I depend on it for my family, bills etc. they have breached a number of parts of their own agreement for months now - which I havent kicked off about so far through fear of losing my source of income - however can I do anything about it now

Our Response:
If you are self-employed, you would have to prove the breach of contract and causes you direct financial loss. It would be worth seeking legal advice regarding this in order to see whether you have a case to answer.
WorkingRights - 20-Apr-18 @ 9:36 AM
I have been a self employed / sub- contracted carpet fitter for 16 years now. I do private work but predominantly wOrkney from a local carpet firm. They have made us sign a fitters agreement in order to secure work through them. Recently I was 'let go' and have had issues with them since. I know I have no grounds for unfair dismissal but this has been my largest source of income for many years now and I depend on it for my family, bills etc.. they have breached a number of parts of their own agreement for months now - which i havent kicked off about so far through fear of losing my source of income - however can i do anything about it now
Samj - 19-Apr-18 @ 10:32 AM
Sandy - Your Question:
Hi. I’m a self employed live in Carer looking after a nearly 94 yr old client, her daughter keeps abusing me over the phone. I have had to block her phone calls and texts to my mobile phone now she’s shouting at me on the home landline causing me stress, difficulties sleeping dry mouth fast heart rate and my hands shake. I have to support 3 members of my family and I cannot just quit this job as I have no other income. The daughter is making my life a misery what action can I take to stop her from behaving like she is? Thanks

Our Response:
You don't say who employs you, the mother or the daughter, or both. However, as you are self-employed your only option would be to find a replacement job if you cannot resolve the issues between you and your employer's family.
WorkingRights - 16-Apr-18 @ 9:37 AM
Hi.I’m a self employed live in Carer looking after a nearly 94 yr old client,her daughter keeps abusing me over the phone.I have had to block her phone calls and texts to my mobile phone now she’s shouting at me on the home landline causing me stress, difficulties sleeping dry mouth fast heart rate and my hands shake.I have to support 3 members of my family and I cannot just quit this job as I have no other income. The daughter is making my life a misery what action can I take to stop her from behaving like she is? Thanks
Sandy - 15-Apr-18 @ 9:52 AM
@Shaun - unless he's agreed to this in writing or in the terms of a contract, then no. It's positively outrageous and your friend needs to find another job.
TaV - 13-Apr-18 @ 2:39 PM
My employer has made everyone to self employed because of the government pension, he doesn't want to pay his part.He still empowers employment rules whereas we are told the hours, days etc. No sick or no? holiday pay, however all employment rules still stand I thought thatwas illegal contracts are scarce and as he is a dentist he thinks we can work till 1am and not get paid extra or see we get home safely! Can HMRC be informed?
Fannyadams - 13-Apr-18 @ 7:31 AM
Hello my friend is self employed by a parcel delivery company there is no contract between them but when he takes holiday the owner charges him £150 a day he is off can he do this without a signed agreement between them everyone there is the same and are getting fed up as it’s costing them more then they earn to take a holiday for a company that closes only Xmas day
Shaun - 12-Apr-18 @ 10:15 PM
I have worked for the same employer for six yrs I'm self employed but I have only worked for him and no one else he has told me and the secretary he is not going to pay us at the end of April she has received a redundancy letter and told she will get redundancy pay am I entitled to any redundancy payment can any one help me as I have no idea what I'm going to do
Daz - 10-Apr-18 @ 8:44 PM
Dentally - Your Question:
Hi, I'd appreciate some advice regarding the following situation if possible.I am a dentist and like the majority of my coleagues work on a self employed basis. (Most dentists in the UK are self employed unless salaried by the NHS)Because of this status I am aware I have no rights under employment law. However, my final payment has been withheld (by the dental practice I worked at) for no reason and without my agreement or consent (It's currently 3 weeks overdue and think I'm owed between £3-4K) I served my notice period and complied with all that was expected of me during my time working there. The owner has refused to contact me since (4 emails and 7 phone calls have been ignored) however I did receive an email stating that the situation would be resolved "in the time they take to resolve it" despite having been given a reasonable 7 day notice period (by myself) to return money owed. I have looked into initiating a simple procedure (small claims court action) however I do not have an accurate figure for my total earning because I have been refused access to my finacial records. Any advice/ signposting to a lawyer who may be able to help deal with this situation would be warmly welcomed! Thanks in advance for any advice you're able to offer

Our Response:
You should be able to estimate the value on the claim form. Plus, you will be able to explain why you do not have the correct figures. Please see link here for more information and a link to the claim form.
WorkingRights - 6-Apr-18 @ 1:57 PM
Ozzbozz - Your Question:
I am a self employed collection agent doing job for last 18years and I am struggling to get even one week off work and they are stating we have to work 52 weeks a year. Time off has always been an issue however it’s gett worse.most years I’ve had no holiday time off. I am wondering if you could please advise if this is legal.

Our Response:
Are you self-employed, you should be able to take holidays when you choose. If you have a contract, give it a read. Your contract should establish your working terms. Every employee or worker has a right to take holidays.
WorkingRights - 6-Apr-18 @ 1:48 PM
I am a self employed collection agent doing job for last 18years and I am struggling to get even one week off work and they are stating we have to work 52 weeks a year. Time off has always been an issue however it’s gett worse...most years I’ve had no holiday time off. I am wondering if you could please advise if this is legal.
Ozzbozz - 31-Mar-18 @ 10:29 AM
Hi, I'd appreciate some advice regarding the following situation if possible.... I am a dentist and like the majority of my coleagues work on a self employed basis. (Most dentists in the UK are self employed unless salaried by the NHS) Because of this status I am aware I have no rights under employment law. However, my finalpayment has been withheld (by the dental practice I worked at) for no reason and without my agreement or consent (It's currently 3 weeks overdue and think I'm owed between £3-4K) I served my notice period and complied with all that was expected of me during my time working there. The owner has refused to contact me since (4 emails and 7 phone calls have been ignored) however I did receive an email stating that the situation would be resolved "in the time they take to resolve it" despite having been given a reasonable7 day notice period (by myself) to return money owed. I have looked into initiating a simple procedure (small claims court action) however I do not have an accurate figure for my total earning because I have been refused access to my finacial records. Any advice/ signposting to a lawyer who may be able to help deal with this situation would be warmly welcomed! Thanks in advance for any advice you're able to offer
Dentally - 31-Mar-18 @ 2:28 AM
I was self employed as a property maintenance mate in view of doing plumbing course. Never paid on time ever, had to hassle for it. Work became impossible so holding back small amount for dropping him in poop by not coming back. What can I do about this. Regards. Small claims.?
Boyo - 15-Mar-18 @ 11:40 AM
I am a self employed contractor and have a signed contract until December 2018 with an agreed day rate. My agency have given me notice that they are reducing my day rate with no reason given. Do I have any rights? Do I have to accept this? I have been on a recurring contract for 2 years now with the same client & have no performance issues.
Jay - 9-Mar-18 @ 2:45 PM
@Joe - it sounds like you have to pay the weekly rental charge for the settle whether you're there or not. You would have to find out further in your contract whether your company has ownership and the right to use the settle when you're not using it.
MattD - 9-Mar-18 @ 9:34 AM
I have this driver agreement could you tell me does this mean I have to pay them if am off sick for the box I rent please as follows 6.Radio rental and settle 6.1 You agree that you will pay to the Company a weekly rental charge at an amount stated on the Company’s website (the "Settle"). The Settle is payable in accordance with the Settle Payment Guide available on the Company’s website. 6.2 In return for payment of the Settle and in order that you may carry out the Services, the Company agrees to: a) provide you with a mobile radio, data terminal, GPS equipment and the licence for such equipment; b) invoice and collect on your behalf any fares charged to Accounts Passengers in respect of Journeys carried out by you for them; 6.3 You agree that in the event of the termination of this agreement (howsoever arising), you are not entitled to a refund, whether in part or in full, of any Settle paid by you in accordance with clause 6.1. As I have paid them 1000 pound boy used the box but they our saying there in the rights could clarify this please
Joe - 8-Mar-18 @ 4:58 PM
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