Defining ‘self-employment’

Corporate and Commercial / 18 April 2017

While giving evidence to Matthew Taylor’s review of modern employment practices recently, IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) called for a statutory definition of self-employment to end confusion about who is and who isn’t self-employed.

There are currently definitions in law for what it means to be an employee and what it means to be classified as a worker, but there is no definition for self-employment.

IPSE suggest that the definition should be based around four key criteria:

  1. Having autonomy in their work – for freelancers this means the ability to send substitutes. There is also no requirement to do work outside what is agreed.
  2. Having control over working arrangements – self-employed people are able to decide how to complete their tasks and the hours and location they choose to work in.
  3. Taking on business risk -the self-employed take responsibility for their finance and tax responsibilities and can be paid on a per-task basis.
  4. Level of independence from clients- this would include things such as having to wear a uniform or using your own tools and equipment to complete your work.

This area of law is under scrutiny from several angles at the moment.  We will keep you informed of further developments.

Greenwoods’ Corporate & Commercial and IP teams prepare Essentials to provide you with a summary of recent developments in company and intellectual property law that are likely to have an impact on your business. To talk through any legal issues that arise call David Woods by email or telephone on 01733 887793.


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