Employment status is increasingly important as new ways of working, such as in the ‘gig economy’, become more commonplace. Organisations providing daily services to consumers, such as food delivery and taxis, or providing courier services to other employers, rely on a workforce who may be combining work with education or caring responsibilities, or who just want a better work-life balance, and who wish to work only when they choose to. Organisations need to know what their responsibilities are in this new environment, not least because of the legal risks involved if they don’t reflect their workforce's rights.
This factsheet explains the legal tests for employment status in the UK, and why they are important for establishing workforce rights. It describes how employment status is set out in law, but defined by case law, and outlines how the law might change in this area as a result of the Taylor report.
Explore our viewpoint on employment status, rights and regulation in more detail, along with actions for government and recommendations for employers.
On this page
- What is employment status?
- Why do people professionals need to know about employment status?
- How do employment rights differ according to employment status?
- Differences between tax and employment definitions
- Why is case law important?
- What should organisations be doing?
- Modern working practices – how the law is changing
- Useful contacts and further reading
This factsheet was last updated by Jane Mann, Fox Williams LLP
Jane Mann is a partner in City law firm Fox Williams’ employment team, with significant experience advising employers, partnerships, senior executives and partners on the full range of employment and partnership law issues. She combines extensive experience of defending employers facing employment claims, with business/legal advisory work, and is an expert on cross-over employment and regulatory issues.
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