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

What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 23 Jun 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]
@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
I am a self employed taxi driver .when I refuse a job I am put in a sin bin for 15 mins.is this illegal. also 90 percent of the time they don't give me the destination of the customer.is this also illegal.
joner - 23-Jun-17 @ 8:07 AM
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.
Denji - 22-Jun-17 @ 3:04 PM
Emmaw - Your Question:
I started working in a call centre 2 weeks ago. We were told we were self employed yet was working in a big office, had to wear a name badge with company name on and was constantly been told what to do. Also I was called into the directors office Friday for them to say because I haven't met my target they weren't going to pay me for the last 2 weeks. Can they do that? Have I got any argument or rights. I've never been self employed before so don't really understand. I really need some advice. thank you

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract of employment, which will determine what your employer can and cannot do. For example, if you are employed on a commission only basis (and your contract states this) and you have not achieved any sales, then you would not be entitled to wages for time you have spent at the job.
WorkingRights - 20-Jun-17 @ 2:07 PM
I started working in a call centre 2 weeks ago. We were told we were self employed yet was working in a big office, had to wear a name badge with company name on and was constantly been told what to do. Also I was called into the directors office Friday for them to say because I haven't met my target they weren't going to pay me for the last 2 weeks. Can they do that?Have I got any argument or rights. I've never been self employed before so don't really understand. I really need some advice. thank you
Emmaw - 19-Jun-17 @ 7:17 PM
Nic I am in the same situation plus many other rules and jobs being left if I don't have a client. My old salon I was there is I was working and cleared up after myself. Yesterday I had to scrub beauty beds (!) I'm also being told that I am no longer allowed to contact my clients off my mobile ( always done as I was initially mobile before my previous salon) and it must be done off the salon phone to comply with data protection. I'm struggling to find where I stand as my business was established when I went there. Can't get through to CAB or ICC
Dee - 8-Jun-17 @ 12:25 PM
I got suspended from my work in December I got. Accused of hitting someone I was without work for 5 months till the court day when I got a not guilty result I am self employed but I lost a lot of money , Can I get compensation? And who can I sue?
Sam - 3-Jun-17 @ 9:28 AM
Lisa - Your Question:
Hi My partner is self employed, he got told this morning they no longer need him. With no notice. Should they give notice.He also had a company car what he gave back. They took £450 out his last wage packet and said the bonnet dosnt open, he new nothing about that, and they said there was a scratch on the door. This could of been done anywhere.Are they aloud to do this.

Our Response:
You can see more via the Worksmart link here which should answer your question.
WorkingRights - 1-Jun-17 @ 11:13 AM
Hi My partner is self employed, he got told this morning they no longer need him. With no notice. Should they give notice. He also had a company car what he gave back. They took £450 out his last wage packet and said the bonnet dosnt open, he new nothing about that, and they said there was a scratch on the door. This could of been done anywhere. Are they aloud to do this.
Lisa - 31-May-17 @ 2:13 PM
Jim - Your Question:
I am self employed sales person I used for a company in Yorkshire what can I do as to wages still owed to me as it has now been 5 weeks since every thing that I have sold has now been fitted

Our Response:
You would need to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract regarding when payment should be made. If it is not paid within this time, and you have sent letters requesting payment that have been ignored, you can take the matter to the small claims court.
WorkingRights - 31-May-17 @ 12:50 PM
I am self employed sales personI used for a company in Yorkshire what can I do as to wages still owed to me as it has now been 5 weeks sinceevery thing that I have sold has now been fitted
Jim - 30-May-17 @ 8:09 PM
@AlexY Thanks for the reply , pretty much what I thought but wanted another opinion just to be sure.
CeeBe - 30-May-17 @ 5:28 PM
@CeeBee - if you are self-employed your employer can effectively do what they like which includes changing the terms of the contract, as you don't have the same rights as an employee.
AlexY - 30-May-17 @ 12:45 PM
Hi. I'm a self employed courier who provides a service to a national company, at the start of May we were told that with immediate effect we're getting an £80 reduction on our invoiced wages per month. No new contract has been produced for us to sign and sure enough this months final invoice is £80 light. Can they do this without first providing notice and/or getting it signed in new T&C's ?
CeeBe - 29-May-17 @ 9:07 PM
My sister has been self employed on and off for 12 years for the same company - a family friend was director - she's worked as a weekend manager and remained loyal hardworking punctual and has managed her responsibility and job description very well - locking premises up etc - there was a family altercation with this director nearly a year to the date - when my daughter who was also a manager had no option but to leave -my sister however stayed on as had little contact with week staff who majority are the directors family - since January my mother has had a massive stroke n only just come home wheelchair bound and during this time my brother aged 54 who came to see mum from Australia passed away and we have been unable to tell me mum as the doctors have said it would be catastrophic for her health - the company is aware of the current situation and yet without warning asked my sister to go in for a meeting where she was told she was no longer required as weekend work would now be taken on by week staff- no alternative hours or days offered and yet my sis who has obviously had a lot going on has had never once been told she is underperforming in her job role of weekend sales manager - we as s family know the reason behind this but even without the knowledge that this was a family friend who's business has grown from strength to strength even backed by age uk - we feel that surely under the circumstances this is appalling behaviour by any bodies standard - is there anything we can do ?
Bessie - 20-May-17 @ 11:09 AM
Im a self employed hairdressing that works on commission only we both get 50% of what i make. Untill now if i was free for half the day i would go home as theres no point me staying without clients as i wont getpaid. But now Where i am working the lady has suddenly decided i have to stay in the salon during opening times regardless to weather I have clients or not. This means being there to answer the phone make bookings and keep the salon tidy after her...i will not be paid for my time or any of this, does she have the right to do this as im not employed by her?She's told me i have no choice but i thought being self employed meant your your own boss and work when you want to? (Like mentioned in the interview when i first started) please help thank you
Nic - 12-May-17 @ 2:28 PM
Im a self employed hairdressing that works on commission only. Where i am working the lady has suddenly decided i have to stay in the salon during opening times regardless to weather I have clients or not. This means being there to answer the phone make bookings and keep the salon tidy...i will not be paid for my time or any of this, does she have the right to do this as im not employed by her as such? Or do i have the right to refuse?
Mrs N - 11-May-17 @ 7:28 AM
I got offered a job through an E-mail it confirmed the length of the assignment 3 weeks working offshore with another 3 week assignment 3 weeks later, once I got on the job and working offshore on a platform, they send me 2 different contracts to sign, one saying if the contract should be ended by either of us 7 days written notice should be given, the other contract saying they can end the contract when they want, now only 2 weeks into the assignment they give me less than 12 hours notice, how do I stand, I had given up other work for this job, on the basis of the E-mail, are they obliged to honor the E-mail and pay the full 6 weeks they confirmed i would have, or are they allowed to change the conditions of the contract after the job has started
GARRY - 11-May-17 @ 2:06 AM
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
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.