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Employment Tribunal

The self employed timebomb

You think you have self-employed workers? Don't be fooled

This article follows the recent Tribunal judgements concerning Uber and Citysprint and the Pimlico Plumbers cases. 

What do all of these cases have in common?

The test for employment status.

Why is that important?

Because it affects a workers rights (and perhaps more importantly how much tax is paid by an employer and a worker)

I am writing this as an urgent call to action for any employer who is regularly employing self-employed workers.

You need to check these facts and assess whether your business is at risk of a claim for workers rights from so-called “self employed” contractors.

We are dealing with a case for unpaid holiday pay from someone who claims he was not a self-employed contractor, but a worker.  The employer is facing holiday back-pay claims of around £7,000 and unpaid National Insurance contributions to HMRC of around £6,000.  Ouch.

Equally the worker will be getting a bill from HMRC for unpaid PAYE and National Insurance.  HMRC is the only real winner from these claims.

A worker is entitled to basic rights such as:

  • getting the National Minimum Wage
  • protection against unlawful deductions from wages
  • the statutory minimum level of paid holiday
  • the statutory minimum length of rest breaks
  • to not work more than 48 hours on average per week or to opt out of this right if they choose
  • protection against unlawful discrimination
  • protection for ‘whistleblowing’ - reporting wrongdoing in the workplace
  • to not be treated less favourably if they work part-time
  • and they MAY be entitled to other statutory payments like Sick Pay, Maternity Pay etc.


  • Are they billing you with an invoice from a Limited Company?
  • Are they doing work for other Companies as well as yours?
  • Are they using their own vehicle, tools and equipment to undertake your jobs?
  • Are they using their own personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • Are they able to ask someone else to do the job for them without your permission?
  • Are they working less than an average of 25 hours per week for your Company?
  • Are they working for you unsupervised?

If you can answer yes to the majority of these questions, then you are less likely to be at risk of a worker claim.

If you are hesitating over any of these questions, then get some professional advice quick

Tracy Green
Tracey Murphy
Managing Director
01772 600228
Ready for a conversation?
Published on: 21st February 2017
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