In the UK, there are different types of employment status, with the main ones being an employee, worker and self-employed. Determining someone’s employment status helps to define their employment rights and the responsibilities of their employer.
A worker is halfway between an employee and a self-employed individual. They have a contract or arrangement in place to work for an employer in return for financial gain. Unlike employees, workers are free to accept or reject an offer of work made to them, although some control will exist once a worker accepts a job opportunity.
It is likely an individual will be recognised as a worker if they occasionally undertake work for a business, with no obligation to accept that job and the job is labelled as being casual or zero-hours.
A number of important legal entitlements are available to workers, including the right to receive the National Minimum/Living Wage, statutory annual leave of 5.6 weeks, as well as the right to Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay and Shared Parental Pay.
Workers are also protected against unlawful deduction of wages, the Working Time Regulations, discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and less favourable treatment if they are a part-time worker.
Unlike employees, workers are not entitled to statutory notice for dismissal, claims of unfair dismissal, the right to make a request for flexible working, time off work for emergencies such as caring for a dependent or statutory redundancy pay.
Since April 2020, workers have the same right as employees to receive a written section 1 statement setting out their main terms and conditions of employment. This must be provided on or before the first day of work.