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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 21 Oct 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]
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
@TS - it's basically a matter of sign the contract or leave. The self-employed don't have any rights - it's shocking in situations such as this and this is a reason why companies are allowed to get away with this behaviour. Give ACAS a call - but I don't think you have any rights, they have employees over a barrell. If you think you are really being treated unfairly and have no rights, give one of the national newspapers a call, they are always interested in stories well-known courier companies treating thier employees badly.
NNx - 2-Oct-17 @ 12:07 PM
Hi although I'm self employed I've worked for the same company 5 days a week every week for 13 years . I get paid holiday pay and sickness . Recently it has become very difficult to work for this company , what rights do I have , and because I've worked none stop for them am I classed as being employed
Ri - 1-Oct-17 @ 7:18 PM
I work for a courier compay as self employed and everythingseemed tobe going on fine until they decidedto introduce damning new contract proposals. Despite the fact that most of us work as self employed and signed contracts when we all started and most of us still have years left on our contracts, but did it matter to them? No. We were told to speak with our managers about the new contract which sole reason was pay cut. To make things worse, they have created different contracts based on lengthof service. We have all triedto ask them questions but unfortunatelyno one could answer us. We are being paiddifferently and I dont know why I should earn less than others just causethey have beenin servicewith this company for over a year or more. Obviously, we do same job, same conditions,same hours etc. Furthermore, not many of us have signed or agreedwith these contracts but they continuedwith it anyway. My questionis, Should this be allowed? Is this right? Why dont we have a faircontract? The contract we signed when we started were all the same irrespectiveof your lengthof service. Why shouldthey ignore the time left on our initial contracts to introduce new contracts, just because of a clause includedin our contracts that thet couldreview our stop rates annually. We think this is not right and we need to know if we are right? Cheers
TS - 30-Sep-17 @ 2:57 PM
I work for a courier compay as self employed and everythingseemed tobe going on fine until they decidedto introduce damning new contract proposals. Despite the fact that most of us work as self employed and signed contracts when we all started and most of us still have years left on our contracts, but did it matter to them? No. We were told to speak with our managers about the new contract which sole reason was pay cut. To make things worse, they have created different contracts based on lengthof service. We have all triedto ask them questions but unfortunatelyno one could answer us. We are being paiddifferently and I dont know why I should earn less than others just causethey have beenin servicewith this company for over a year or more. Obviously, we do same job, same conditions,same hours etc. Furthermore, not many of us have signed or agreedwith these contracts but they continuedwith it anyway. My questionis, Should this be allowed? Is this right? Why dont we have a faircontract? The contract we signed when we started were all the same irrespectiveof your lengthof service. Why shouldthey ignore the time left on our initial contracts to introduce new contracts, just because of a clause includedin our contracts that thet couldreview our stop rates annually. We think this is not right and we need to know if we are right? Cheers
TS - 30-Sep-17 @ 2:56 PM
@Partner - if there is no contract then she doesn't have to abide by the boss's rules. But if she doesn't her employer can just drop her and there is little she can do :(
Asha - 14-Sep-17 @ 3:16 PM
@asha there is no contract. What I'm getting at is that she's treated like she's employed when she is self employed. The difference is, if she was employed she would no doubt get sent home on days like that rather than pay her to sit there. It's nothing to do with building a clientele, that's irrelevant to what I'm asking. My point is, surely she shouldn't have to sit there and do duties without getting paid?
Partner - 12-Sep-17 @ 5:48 PM
@Partner - isn't much of it about bringing in your own clientele which is part of building up a business. What do the other hairdressers do? Presumably, they must have the same problem. Unless they have been there longer perhaps and have built up their clientele. It depends what the terms of her contract are and what she has agreed to when taking the job.
Asha - 12-Sep-17 @ 3:58 PM
Hi, my partner works as a self employed hair dresser from 9 till 5. But for example if she only has clients in until 11am, she has to sit there all day without being paid. Some days she has no clients in yet they still say she has to sit at work, answering the telephone and cleaning up after other hair dressers. Yet she doesn't earn a penny for it but still has to stay until the salon closes. I've said to my partner she should bring this up as they surely can't say they have to stay at work whilst doing activities without getting paid? But she said they will just sack her if she said anything. It's not fair at all.
Partner - 12-Sep-17 @ 11:03 AM
Lainey - Your Question:
My hubby is a self employed caroenter with a good reputation.His most recent employer has not paid him claiming that his work is unsatisfactory and claiming counter charges to put the work right.Some of the claims seem fictitious.Most companies over the years pay his invoice without issue but some choose to pay what suits them.What rights does he have if any?

Our Response:
He would have to apply to the small claims court if he wishes to try to claim the money back.
WorkingRights - 11-Sep-17 @ 3:13 PM
My hubby is a self employed caroenter with a good reputation. His most recent employer has not paid him claiming that his work is unsatisfactory and claiming counter charges to put the work right. Some of the claims seem fictitious. Most companies over the years pay his invoice without issue but some choose to pay what suits them. What rights does he have if any?
Lainey - 9-Sep-17 @ 12:57 PM
@Fred - if you are self-employed your employer doesn't have to give any reason to dismiss you.
Sam&8 - 21-Aug-17 @ 3:40 PM
Hi I have been working as a self-employed manager for 3 months and my employer came in yesterday and told me I could not work there anymore due to issues I was having with the staff. He was unwilling to hear my side of the story. On taking the job I was promised a self-employed agreement with notice period for both sides but this never materialised. I have been treated as an employee with regard to regular rota, management control, and have been made to work in unsafe conditions. I left a good job as an employee to go to this company and I feel like I have been duped into leaving my old job for their selfish needs. They owe me money now which apparently will be paid next month as agreed (no agreement was made regarding timings of payment).
Fred - 18-Aug-17 @ 12:15 AM
Hi there I am working for amaZon flex driver for 4 months now. And this is the second time that i had a problem with depo guy and my account has been blocked because amzon felx only have email support team and to be honest they are good for nothing. They just send me an email that your account has been temporarily disable and will let you know in detail but since then no email has been recieved. And i am loosing money every day. Any help or suggestion?
Hh - 17-Aug-17 @ 9:05 AM
I have been doing the same job in the same place for over ten years as a self employed person , after all this time do I have any rights to ask for a contract or any holiday or sick pay etc
Mart - 16-Aug-17 @ 10:35 PM
I was working as a self employed sub contractor, £60 a day but working like 14 hours a day, have 4 kids, a house etc, making money stretch was ridiculous! My partner got offered a part time job for nearly the same amount of pay I was bringing home, so we both agreed to get part time jobs, to balance work & family between us. My partner got offered the job and could start the next day, but it would mean me looking after the twins for a while, so I told the company I was a subby for that I wouldn't be into work as of immediately. Friday of the same week came, I was not paid for my work the previous week!! Advice? Who do i contact to get this money!?
Help!? - 13-Aug-17 @ 8:30 PM
Carpenter - Your Question:
I'm self employed and a recruitment agency sent me to work for a company. This company asked me to work weekend without knowing the recruitment agency. I worked 3 weekends but I was not paid. I told the recruiting agency what happened, I got proof that I worked in the weekends, some txt messages between me and supervisor , but still don't pay me. What can I do?

Our Response:
You may wish to send a letter to the recruitment agency and your employer to say that if the money owed is not forthcoming by a specific date, then you will take the matter to the small claims court.
WorkingRights - 10-Aug-17 @ 3:14 PM
I'm self employed and a recruitment agency sent me to work for a company. This company asked me to work weekend without knowing the recruitment agency. I worked 3 weekends but I was not paid. I told the recruiting agency what happened, I got proof that I worked in the weekends, some txt messages between me and supervisor , but still don't pay me. What can I do?
Carpenter - 10-Aug-17 @ 8:24 AM
Chris 82 - Your Question:
Hi I was working for a company as a self employed HGV driver I made a small crack to the bumper of the vehicle.Last week when my invoice was due I received an invoice for damage to the vehicle and was paid £80 of my invoice and the rest was kept to cover the damage.Where do I stand with this?

Our Response:
You would have to have a read of the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see whether your employer allowed to make deductions. However, as a rule an employer can only make certain deductions without authorisation, please see link here for further information.
WorkingRights - 8-Aug-17 @ 1:58 PM
Hi I was working for a company as a self employed HGV driver I made a small crack to the bumper of the vehicle. Last week when my invoice was due I received an invoice for damage to the vehicle and was paid £80 of my invoice and the rest was kept to cover the damage. Where do I stand with this?
Chris 82 - 7-Aug-17 @ 6:12 PM
Mermaid - Your Question:
I have recently been off for 7 weeks due to injury at work. On my return they I formed me due to uncertainties of my absence length tbat my shift has been given to another and therefore im loosing £40 a week out of my income. Is this discrimination of my incapacity to work? I was on crutches.

Our Response:
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing what time of contract you are on. If you are on a permanent contract you may wish to give ACAS a call. If you are not, you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see where you stand regarding this.
WorkingRights - 7-Aug-17 @ 9:48 AM
I have recently been off for 7 weeks due to injury at work. On my return they i formed me due to uncertainties of my absence length tbat my shift has been given to another and therefore im loosing £40 a week out of my income. Is this discrimination of my incapacity to work? I was on crutches.
Mermaid - 4-Aug-17 @ 12:40 PM
Ashley - Your Question:
HiI started working for a self employed company, at my interview I was given the job spend 2 hours after interview training then resumed duties from the next day, worked 4 days with the employer and he then text me to say I am not suitable as I cannot be seen doing the job in long run basically I have 2 dependants and that's the reason I believe why.His initial email confirmed my salary and his given me the job, however when he ended my job on the 4th day he claimed I was under training period and their contract doesn't pay for training but I never signed a contract? His pay me £30 for 4 days work that's not right when I have been working 8am until 6pmDo I have any rights or can I obtain the pay I should deserve for 4 days? Sorry for the long message and many thanks

Our Response:
If you are self-employed, then you should send your employer an invoice for the time worked and the hourly rate agreed at the interview. If your former employer doesn't pay, then you may be able to take the matter to the small claims court, if you feel you have a case. You may also wish to seek some professional legal advice, the Citizens Advice Bureau may help you further establish whether you should take the matter further.
WorkingRights - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:02 PM
Hi I started working for a self employed company, at my interview I was given the job spend 2 hours after interview training then resumed duties from the next day, worked 4 days with the employer and he then text me to say I am not suitable as i cannot be seen doing the job in long run basically I have 2 dependants and that's the reason I believe why. His initial email confirmed my salary and his given me the job, however when he ended my job on the 4th day he claimed I was under training period and their contract doesn't pay for training but I never signed a contract?His pay me £30 for 4 days work that's not right when I have been working 8am until 6pm Do I have any rights or can I obtain the pay I should deserve for 4 days? Sorry for the long message and many thanks
Ashley - 1-Aug-17 @ 11:49 PM
hi im a self employed taxi driver i own my own car but rent the data i have been to pay my rent today only to be told it has gone up without any notice, this cant be legal
arl - 24-Jul-17 @ 10:49 AM
@Sally - if your employer is on a self-employed contract you can dismiss them without problem. They can only claim unfair dismissal if they are actual employees.
RYio - 20-Jul-17 @ 11:20 AM
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