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What type of worker are you?

All workers with a right to work in the UK have employment rights.

If you are from a non-EU country there may be conditions attached to your visa that restrict the hours or type of work you may be employed. See the Home Office website  for more information about the conditions attached to your visa.

The rights you are entitled to at work will depend on the type of worker you are.

There are generally three legal categories of workers in the UK: employees​workers (such as casual or agency workers) and the self-employed. Click on the links below to find out more.

EmployeeWorker​​Self Employed


Employee​​EMPLOYEE

You are likely to be an employee if:

  1. you are expected to attend work regularly
  2. you expect your employer to provide you with regular hours or work
  3. you expect to be paid for the work that you do
  4. you are expected to carry out your work yourself (i.e. you would not be allowed to ask a friend or family member to do it for you)
  5. you are not allowed to refuse to work or refuse to come to work
  6. your employer is in charge of how, when and where you work
  7. your employer pays taxes and National Insurance out of your wages
  8. your employer provides your tools, equipment, facilities, uniform etc
  9. you have a written contract of employment.

Note: If these facts do not apply to you, you might be ‘self-employed’ or a ‘worker’. You should ask for help from a trade union official if you are not sure about your employment status.

Rights for Employees

All employees have the right to:

  1. be paid at least the National Minimum Wage
  2. protection against unlawful deductions from wages
  3. paid annual leave
  4. the statutory minimum length of rest break
  5. protection from accidents at work
  6. not work more than 48 hours on average per week 
  7. protection against unlawful discrimination
  8. protection for ‘whistleblowing’ - reporting wrongdoing in the workplace
  9. not be treated less favourably if they work part-time
  10. join a trade union
  11. be accompanied in grievances and disciplinary actions
  12. statutory sick pay
  13. protections if they are pregnant
  14. maternity and paternity leave and pay
  15. minimum notice periods if their employment will be ending – e.g. if an employer is dismissing them
  16. protection against unfair dismissal
  17. request flexible working
  18. time off for emergencies
  19. statutory redundancy pay.

Worker​​WORKER​

You are likely to be a worker if:

  1. your employer does not have to offer you regular or guaranteed hours
  2. you do not have to accept any work or shifts that your employer offers
  3. you have a contract it describes you as ‘casual’ or ‘as required’
  4. you are expected to carry out your work yourself (i.e. you would not be allowed to ask a friend or family member to do it for you)
  5. your employer pays taxes and National Insurance out of your wages
  6. your employer provides your tools, equipment, facilities, uniform etc.

Note: If these facts do not apply to you, you might be ‘self-employed’ or an ‘employee’.  You should ask for help from a trade union official if you are not sure about your employment status.

Rights for workers

All workers have the right to:

  1. be paid at least the National Minimum Wage
  2. protection against unlawful deductions from wages
  3. paid annual leave
  4. the statutory minimum length of rest break
  5. protection from accidents at work
  6. not work more than 48 hours on average per week
  7. protection against unlawful discrimination
  8. some protections for pregnant workers
  9. protection for ‘whistleblowing’ - reporting wrongdoing in the workplace
  10. not be discriminated against if you work part-time
  11. join a trade union​
  12. be accompanied in grievances and disciplinary actions.

On a zero-hours contract?

 If you are on a zero-hours contract you are likely to be entitled to workers’ rights.  But many zero-hours contract workers will also be ‘employees’.  It will depend on your personal working pattern.  It is always a good idea to check with your union which rights you may qualify for.

AGENCY WORKER

Refer to Agency Workers page


Self EmployedSELF-EMPLOYED WORKER

You are likely to be self-employed if:

  1. you pay your own tax and National Insurance
  2. you can hire someone else to do your work for you
  3. you provide your own tools and equipment
  4. you provide invoices for your work rather than receiving a wage
  5. you risk losing profits if there is a problem.

Bogus self-employed?

If you suspect you may be a ‘worker’ or ‘employee’ but are being treated as self-employed, you should seek immediate advice from a trade union official.

Rights for self-employed workers

  1. Health and safety at work.
  2. Protection against unlawful discrimination.
  3. If you are pregnant, you may be eligible are able to claim Maternity Allowance.

There are some additional rights that apply to some self-employed workers which a union can help you to claim. To find the relevant union for your job please use the union finder tool

Now that you know what type of worker you are, find out what rights apply to you. Go to Step 2