In recent times news headlines have highlighted that in the modern working world it is not always clear what type of contract people are working under and this in turn begs the question, what is my employment status? Invariably there will be one of three potential answers – an employee, a worker, or an self-employed independent contractor.
If only it were that simple. Many modern business models have methods of operating that may have the effect of blurring the distinction between the 3 categories above and it is only upon asking a series of key questions and examining practices that the picture becomes a great deal clearer.
There can be a myriad of factors relevant to why someone is classified in the way they are, for example – flexibility, taxation, control and so on, but ultimately if there is a dispute it will be for an industrial tribunal or other legal forum to decide.
Traditionally an industrial tribunal will look at things such as – how much control the employer exercises, how integrated the individual is into the organisation, if a substitute can be appointed and so on. Ultimately the facts of each case will speak for themselves and it will be the tribunal that needs to decide taking into consideration the differences between paper and practice and the impact of technology and so on.
It should be noted that there is a difference between tax law and employment law and although they have overlaps regarding establishing the status of an individual they are not the same thing – watch this HMRC video podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOLBejCYRc0 to see the matter from a taxation point of view and go to our link below on employment status to see a list of diagnostic questions that can be asked to help ascertain the employment status of an individual.