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What Rights Do the Self-Employed Have?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 19 Sep 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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I have been working as a self employed contractor for a firm fitting their bathrooms. I have emails from the company agreeing that I will undertake work for them but today they have given me two weeks notice that a job that was due to last two weeks has been cancelled. Do I have the right to be paid for the work?
Diggy - 19-Sep-18 @ 5:39 PM
I work in a bar and all bar staff are self employed, although we do have our own set shifts that we work every week. For example I work every Thursday and Saturday night. If I were unable to cover my Thursday night shift I would let the Bar Manager know and she would find cover, now she has decided that we have to ask fellow bar staff to provide cover for us and if we are unable to find cover we have to work the shift. I have booked a holiday and can not find cover for my shift and being told I have to work it, no bar staffs have signed any contracts but some of us have worked there for several years.
Helz - 17-Sep-18 @ 9:22 AM
Is it legal if I'm self employes for my boss no notice just not pick me up to go working not had a text or phone call nothing
17rd - 16-Sep-18 @ 8:14 PM
I have worked for a company in railway for 2 years through an agency so I am self employed and got paid through my limited company. After an incident they dismissed me even though I have the proof that it wasn't my fault. During this period of 2 years I was very appreciated for my work and sometimes I was acting as a supervisor too. After the incident occurred I came back to work for few days then I have been stood down for the investigations which took roughly 2 weeks and last night I have been informed by the manager that I have been dismissed. Is any legal action that I can take against them? Please help
Byga - 13-Sep-18 @ 4:38 PM
I am a taxi driver and certain people on the rank are trying to persecute me for the things they have no evidence off and are also try to find other ways to get me banned because they don't like because I am young and foreign and don't fit in with there crowd. They asking hmrc if I am paying tax which I am and spreading rumours and working together to intimidate me. I'm self employment what do I do as I can't get evidence because it's all word of mouth
Worried - 11-Sep-18 @ 9:27 PM
Lee - Your Question:
I am self employed and a company I do work for wants me to attend what they call compulsory training. However, they have told me that self employed staff do not get paid for training. Can they do this?

Our Response:
Much depends upon what you have agreed to when signing any contract. The terms of training should be mentioned in the contract.
WorkingRights - 3-Sep-18 @ 12:56 PM
I am self employed and a company I do work for wants me to attend what they call compulsory training. However, they have told me that self employed staff do not get paid for training. Can they do this?
Lee - 31-Aug-18 @ 10:39 PM
Nessie - Your Question:
Hi. My husband is a self employed executive private hire driver. He’s owed almost £3000 for work he’s done for a le executive private hire firm - I don’t know if they’re a limited company - it’s a father and son outfit. My husband has asked them twice to pay some of the money he’s owed which is for work he did dating back to March until last week. They have in the past paid amounts direct to his account so have his details and it went in within hours. He asked on Monday of this week if he can have some of what he’s owed and again on Thursday as the money hadn’t gone in. The owner of the company said he’d pay it on Friday. It’s now Saturday and it still hasn’t gone in. How long should he be expected to wait and what action can he take? He has job sheets from them and texts on WhatsApp. Is this sufficient evidence to take the issue to small claims court if necessary assuming that’s the only option open to him?

Our Response:
Small claims may be his only option if the company is refusing to pay. A letter warning the company that if the owed sum is not paid by a specific time then he will be taking legal action might help. Please see the link here .
WorkingRights - 7-Aug-18 @ 10:56 AM
Nathtaniel - Your Question:
I'm self employed courier doing multi drop deliveries last week I had tricky situation after knocking on the door I heard someone saying come in few times maybe 5 so I was thinking is disabled person so I open the door but there was not disabled person so I left the parcel fast and closed the door and now here is the tricky situation the customer complained that I saw her naked(she was covered with something I didn't saw her naked)and now they want money from the company I work for and to be fired and never again working like courier(I'm paying van which I bought last year).So my question is how can I get some help with this situation because I like my job and don't want to lose it but the customer is always right thanks

Our Response:
You would have to seek professional legal advice regarding this matter.
WorkingRights - 6-Aug-18 @ 12:59 PM
Hi. My husband is a self employed executive private hire driver. He’s owed almost £3000 for work he’s done for a le executive private hire firm - I don’t know if they’re a limited company - it’s a father and son outfit. My husband has asked them twice to pay some of the money he’s owed which is for work he did dating back to March until last week. They have in the past paidamounts direct to his account so have his details and it went in within hours. He asked on Monday of this week if he can have some of what he’s owed and again on Thursday as the money hadn’t gone in. The owner of the company said he’d pay it on Friday. It’s now Saturday and it still hasn’t gone in. How long should he be expected to wait and what action can he take? He has job sheets from them and texts on WhatsApp . Is this sufficient evidence to take the issueto small claims court if necessary assuming that’s the only option open to him?
Nessie - 4-Aug-18 @ 7:32 PM
I'm self employed courier doing multi drop deliveries last week I had tricky situation after knocking on the door I heard someone saying come in few times maybe 5 so I was thinking is disabled person so I open the door but there was not disabled person so I left the parcel fast and closed the door and now here is the tricky situation the customer complained that I saw her naked(she was covered with something I didn't saw her naked)and now they want money from the company I work for and to be fired and never again working like courier(I'm paying van which i bought last year).So my question is how can i get some help with this situation because i like my job and don't want to lose it but the customer is always right thanks
Nathtaniel - 4-Aug-18 @ 1:13 PM
We have set up a small company providing cover at eventsand would like to take on people to assist us on a self employed basis as we could not give staff a contract with set amount of hours a week , looking on the GOV and acas webistes ect not sure as regards to whether we should be paying them within the guidance of minimum wage or more in order for them to take off 20% to cover TAX and NI . for example if wew pay them £10.00 an hour , they take off 20 % towards there own TAX and NI ( Which is down to them to sort ) it would mean there hourly rate would be £8.00. please could you clarify the confusion as a lot companies seemed to be taking people on like this and we would prefer to ensure we are paying the right amount and within the law too. Thank you in advance
Rayne - 3-Aug-18 @ 11:13 PM
Dan66 - Your Question:
I'm self employed, my boss ordered me to stay for a delivery with no overtime but I had to go the to an appointment with my son, I've been told to take the rest of the week off, is that allowed? Feels very discrimantive to me

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your employment contract and what it says. You would have to read it to find out.
WorkingRights - 2-Aug-18 @ 2:21 PM
Davo - Your Question:
I'm self employed, working delivering newspapers, I've just received 2 written warning in 1 day and the second one been made to a final warning. Never had any warnings before, can they do this ???

Our Response:
As a rule, self-employed individuals cannot claim unfair dismissal. Please see the link here.
WorkingRights - 2-Aug-18 @ 10:19 AM
I'm self employed, working delivering newspapers, I've just received 2 written warning in 1 day and the second one been made to a final warning. Never had any warnings before, can they do this ???
Davo - 1-Aug-18 @ 1:55 PM
I'm self employed, my boss ordered me to stay for a delivery with no overtime but I had to go the to an appointment with my son, I've been told to take the rest of the week off, is that allowed? Feels very discrimantive to me
Dan66 - 31-Jul-18 @ 8:11 PM
Dan - Your Question:
I’m self employed last week I left the site I was working on to go do another job. As there was no materials and wasn’t getting paid to stand around waiting I simply could not afford to have a bad week for this firm again. I went to another firm to make sure I could feed my family this week and the old firm contracts manger told me not to come back and resulted in not paying me at all for works I’ve completed were do I stand?

Our Response:
If you are owed money for work carried out and your employer has refused to pay you, then you can claim via the small claims court here .
WorkingRights - 27-Jul-18 @ 1:58 PM
I’m self employed last week I left the site I was working on to go do another job. As there was no materials and wasn’t getting paid to stand around waiting I simply could not afford to have a bad week for this firm again. I went to another firm to make sure I could feed my family this week and the old firm contracts manger told me not to come back and resulted in not paying me at all for works I’ve completed were do I stand?
Dan - 27-Jul-18 @ 7:34 AM
I have been self employed private hire driver with uber since sep 2015,how ever on Sat 21st July 2018 I was assaulted by a passenger(I called 999 straight away and was issued cad and crime reference numbers). However the same passenger made a complaint against me and an hour after the incident uber suspended my working account putting me out of work without notification. They did not contact me nor sent me any message that what is going on until Mon 23 July 2018 afternoon when the sent me a message that there has been a feedback by a passenger and they have passed my details to the police. I wrote to them many times but they have not responded, I want to their office but they had no clue what is going on as the case is handled by a team which no one knows where is based... As a private hire driver we have AXA insurance(provided by uber) to cover any loss of earnings. But my request to process the claim has not attracted any response. Any advise would be much appreciated.
KK - 26-Jul-18 @ 6:06 PM
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
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