Contractor versus Employee versus Worker
Employees, workers and contractors have different rights and responsibilities.
In order to determine your employment status, a number of questions need to be addressed:
- Do you have a contract of employment?
- What does the contract of employment state?
- Is the contract clear about the terms of agreement?
- Is what happens in practice different from what is stated in the contract?
- Is your employer obliged to provide work?
- Are you obliged to accept work?
- When is the obligation triggered?
- Have practices developed into a pattern over a period of time?
- Are you told what to do and how to do it?
- Do you determine what needs to be done and in what way?
- Can you appoint a substitute or must you provide the service personally?
- Are you obliged to follow/use the internal rules etc. of the organisation?
- Do you use your own equipment or wear a uniform?
- What are your tax and National Insurance arrangements?
- Are you restricted in who else you can work for?
- Are you penalised, for example, not offered work for a time, for refusing to work?
Legal definition of an employee
The legal definition of an employee, a contract of employment and a worker can be found in article 3 of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996.
Basic employment rights at a glance
|Right to not be unfairly dismissed
(after one year’s service)
|Right to receive written statement
of particulars/terms and conditions
|Statutory minimum notice||Yes||No||No|
|Statutory redundancy pay (after two
|Protection against discrimination in
|National Minimum Wage||Yes||Yes||No|
|Protection against unlawful
deduction from wages
|Paid annual leave||Yes||Yes||No|
|Right to daily and weekly rest breaks||Yes||Yes||No|
|Right to be accompanied at a
disciplinary or grievance hearing
|Rights under data protection
|Protection under anti-
|Statutory sick pay||Yes||Possibly||No|
|Shared parental leave and pay (if
qualifying criteria are met)
|Unpaid time off to care for
|Right to request flexible working||Yes||No||No|
|Time off rights (in general)||Yes||No||No|
|Right not to suffer detriment in
|Protection under TUPE legislation||Yes||No||No|
|Certain payments on insolvency||Yes||No||Possibly|
|Health and safety in the workplace||Yes||Yes||Yes|