Businesses use the services of people in different ways and under different terms. Within your own team, you may have some employees, for example, but you may also have team members who work as contractors, consultants, casuals, agency workers, zero-hours contractors, temps or interns. 

Different types of staff have different types of employment rights. For example, while employees have legal rights to such things as statutory sick pay (SSP) or redundancy entitlements, other types of workers do not.  

Although it can be easy to slip into the habit of treating everyone in the same way, it’s vital you make a clear distinction in how you treat different team members depending on their employment status. If lines become blurred, non-employees may inadvertently attract employment rights, which can prove expensive for the organisation if they later pursue an employment claim. 

As a manager, it is important to understand the different kinds of employment status or types of contract or arrangements under which your team members are engaged so that you can manage your team and their expectations. It will also help you support your organisation to function effectively and avoid any claims against it. 

CIPD member content

This content is only available for CIPD members

More on this topic

Employment status

Understand how being defined in UK law as an employee, a worker or self-employed affects employment rights and employers’ legal responsibilities

Atypical working: Guidance for employers

Practical guidance to help you identify and implement good atypical working practices

For Members
Employment law
Employment status: UK employment law

Explore our collection of resources around legal issues surrounding employees and workers, including Q&As for various types of workers and relevant case law

For Members
Fixed-term contracts: Guide for employers

Understand what employers need to do to manage fixed-term contracts within the law

Latest guides

Carer-friendly workplaces: Guide for people professionals

Practical guidance to help employers create a carer-friendly workplace

Flexible working: Guidance for people professionals on planning and managing

This guide has been developed for people professionals who want to maximise the benefits of flexible working within their organisations, incorporating flexibility into people plans, strategy, and their employee value proposition.

How to request flexible working

A guide for employees to develop a strong business case for submitting a flexible working request

How to manage flexible working requests

A guide for employers and line managers to navigate the expected upsurge in flexible working requests

All guides