Whatever sector or industry you’re working in, you should know your basic working rights. It’s essential, however, to note these rights will depend on what employment status you have – whether you’re self-employed, an employee, or a worker.
If you’re a worker, you’ll have an arrangement or contract to provide services or undertake work in exchange for money. You may work under a casual, zero-hours, or freelance contract.
If you’re an employee, you’ll have a contract of employment with your employer to carry out regular work, usually with specified hours.
If you are self-employed, then you manage and run a business of your own and take responsibility for your working hours, work, and success or failure of the business.
Here, we take a look at all these employment statuses as well as their associated rights more closely.
If You’re A Worker
If you’re a worker, you’re partway between an employee and self-employed. Usually, you’ll have a contract with your employer, but they’re not required to accept your work. A worker has an entitlement, just like an employee, to have a statement in writing setting out their employment’s terms and conditions.
A worker receives a number of legal entitlements including rights to receive Statutory Sick Pay, Adoption, Maternity or Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay and the National Minimum Wage. A worker also has protection from any unlawful deductions from their wages, less favourable treatment if working part-time, and discrimination under 2010’s Equality Act.
A worker is also protected by Working Time Regulations – a maximum of 48 hours per week. They’re also entitled to 28 days of annual leave (if working 5 days per week) and have a right to a minimum of 11 hours rest in between each working day together with a full 24-hour rest once per week or a full 48 hours once per fortnight.
Workers, however, aren’t entitled to any statutory notice to be dismissed, or to make a claim for statutory redundancy pay, unfair dismissal, or flexible working.
If You’re An Employee
Employees who are contracted by their employer to carry out regular work have identical rights to workers when it comes to wages and protection from discrimination, less favourable treatment for working part-time, or unlawful deductions from their wages. However, they also have more rights than a worker. They can, for example, make an application to work flexibly after working for the employer for 26 weeks.
An employee also has an entitlement to a minimum notice period if their employment is going to be terminated, but they also have to give their employer notice if they’re leaving. An employee has an entitlement to redundancy pay if they’ve been employed for two years continuously. They have protection from unfair dismissal too.
If You’re Self Employed
If you’re self-employed, you forfeit most of the entitlements and rights that employees and workers benefit from. You have no rights to maternity, adoption, or paternity leave or pay, statutory sick pay, redundancy pay, paid leave, Working Time Regulation protection or National Minimum Wage.
Nevertheless, self-employed people have some rights if signing a contract with a client or employer. They also have an entitlement to receive their state pension so long as they’ve paid sufficient NI contributions. They have an entitlement to DWP welfare support should they get ill, and women who are self-employed may be able to claim Maternity Allowance.