Back in July 2022, the Government published its response to the 2018 employment status consultation, and at the same time introduced a new suite of online guidance to clarify employment status. The guidance should provide a ‘one-stop shop for businesses and individuals to understand which employment rights apply to them’.
The 2018 employment consultation was part of The Good work plan, a policy paper published by the Government back in December 2018 in response to the Taylor Review of modern working practices.
In its Good work plan, the Government had originally committed to legislate to improve the clarity of tests for employment status. The Government decided to press pause on this and instead issue the clarifying guidance, reasoning that ‘the benefits of legislating on employment status are currently outweighed by the potential disruption of legislative reform, including the risk of creating more cost and uncertainly for business ..in the short term, at a time when they are focusing on recovering from the pandemic’.
Latest Government guidance on employment status
The new employment status and employment rights guidance is in two sections.
One section is targeted at a business audience, (including HR, legal advisors and other groups who advise employers). It is written with SMEs and Micro Businesses in mind. There is a check list aimed at helping employers of all sizes to assess the employment status of people they engage to work for them.
Employment status and rights, check list for employers and other engagers
(Engager is used to mean a business or person who engages self-employed people for work).
This checklist includes a helpful overview of the 3 categories of employee, worker, self employed, with examples, and notes on determining the correct category for staff, together with step by step guidance on identifying and meeting responsibilities when employing staff for the first time, and an employment rights table of key rights broken down by employment status.
The second section is targeted at individuals.
Guidance for Individuals
This aims to help individuals, and gig economy workers in particular, understand what rights they are entitled to.
Key employment rights & entitlements by employment status
The Government’s table of key rights by employment status includes only employees and workers. So we have created a one pager showing the key rights and protection broken down across all 3 categories of employment status, including self employed contractors.
Also below is our pdf of the main employment rights for employees and workers, with qualifying periods, a quick reference that is easier to read than the Government tables.
Case law has long been driving this issue. Following the latest Supreme Court ruling in the Uber v Aslam case in February 2021, the important thing to remember is that it is a company’s actual level of control over the individual, not what is expressed in the contract, that ultimately determines the employment status of its people.
If you need advice on auditing and assessing the employment status of the freelancers and contractors in your business, please get in touch, our details are below.