Learn about workers and their rights
There may come the time when the business you start grows big enough to need extra help. Find out when someone is classed as a ‘worker’ and what employment rights they have.
What is a worker?
A worker is someone who:
- Has a written or verbal contract or arrangement to do work or carry out services for reward.
- Is rewarded by money or a benefit in kind.
- Has a limited right to get someone else to do their work (in other words to subcontract the work).
- Has to turn up for work, even if they don’t want to.
- You need to provide work for, for the duration of their contract or arrangement.
- Isn’t working for you on behalf of their own company, making you their ‘client’.
What employment rights does a worker have?
A worker is entitled to:
- Get the minimum wage.
- Protection from unlawful deductions from their wages.
- The statutory minimum level of paid holiday.
- The statutory minimum length of rest breaks.
- Not work more than 48 hours on average a week (they can opt out of this right if they wish).
- Protection from unlawful discrimination.
- Protection for reporting wrongdoing in the workplace.
- Be treated fairly if they work part time.
A worker may also be entitled to:
- Statutory Maternity Pay.
- Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay.
- Statutory Sick Pay.
A worker is not usually entitled to:
- A minimum notice period.
- Protection against unfair dismissal.
- The right to ask for flexible working.
- Time off for emergencies.
- Statutory Redundancy Pay.
When is someone who works for you classed as a ‘worker’?
From time to time you may need to hire casual workers to help out in your business. If most of the following statements apply to them, they are considered ‘workers’:
- They occasionally work for you.
- You don’t have to offer them work and they’re not obliged to accept it.
- Their contract uses words like ‘casual’, ‘freelance’ or ‘as needed’.
- They agreed to your terms either verbally or in writing.
- They are supervised by a manager or director.
- They can’t ask someone else to do their work.
- You deduct tax and National Insurance from their wages.
- You provide the tools they need to do their work.