Getting to grips with the help

You start a business and at some point you need help and so you begin your journey into employment law and performance management.

Family members help out from time to time, some casual workers, some freelancers, even interns and apprentices.  Some businesses never get out of the ‘freelance’ mode and employ staff.  Some employ people and carry on with a mix of freelancers and employees.

Entrepreneurs say employment law is one of their key concerns – yet few seem to realise some simple facts:

  • Calling someone freelance or self employed does not mean they are
  • Self employment does not automaticaly mean no tax has to be deducted under IR35
  • Employment tribunals can decide your people are really employed
  • HMRC can go to you for back tax
  • Genuine freelance workers have a full range of discrimination and other employment rights (the main thing they don’t have is unfair dismissal rights)

It is  tempting to take on people as freelance workers and not have to worry about PAYE and tax at the end of the month, but it can mean that you are storing up trouble for the future.

New employees have two years before they qualify for unfair dismissal rights.  With the right contracts you can take people on without worry. Talk to your accountants and tell them honestly how you are working.

If freelance workers are the right model for you, you need a proper agreement that not only sets out the relationship so HMRC can see it is not an employment relationship but also deals with:

  • Who owns copyright?  without an agreement they will
  • Confidentiality and data protection
  • What happens about confidential information when the contract ends?
  • How they will deal with sending suitably qualified substitutes when they are not available?  If they can’t that is one indicator that they are not self-employed
  • What equipment they are going to provide?
  • And there’s more……

There are lots of things the law gives you automatically if you are the boss of an employee that you are going to have to contract for if you are using freelance workers. We come across people who don’t have copyright in their own web sites, who don’t have access to social media followers they paid someone to find and worse.

Join us for a free teleseminar to discuss managing freelance workers – register via this link.

About the Author Annabel Kaye

We founded Irenicon in 1980 to help employers make employment law work for them. We were always a mixed disciplinary practice – something quite revolutionary at the time. Over the years we have worked with some wonderful organisations, pushing the boundaries of how employment law can really be made to work without restricting the flow of the organisation.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

Add Your Reply