Types of Employment in the United Kingdom

There are three main types of employment in the United Kingdom. They are self-employed, employee, and worker. Each type of employment comes with its own rights and responsibilities, which have been outlined below. For further information on types of employment, you can visit gov.uk/employment-status or acas.org.uk/checking-your-employment-rights.

Self-Employed

You might be self-employed if you:

  • You run a business for yourself and are responsible for its success or failure.

  • You are not paid through PAYE.

  • You can decide what work to do and when to do it.

  • You can hire someone else to do the work.

  • You use your own money to buy assets for the business, cover running costs and provide your own business equipment.
     

Note: You can be both self-employed and an employee at the same time. For example, you might be an employee in the daytime and run your own business in the evenings and/or on the weekends.

Employee

You are an employee if you:

  • Work under a contract of employment.

  • You are required to work regularly unless you’re on leave.

  • You are expected to work a minimum number of hours and expect to be paid for that work.

  • Someone else is responsible for assigning your workload.

  • Your contract of employment uses terms like “employer” and “employee”.

  • As an employee, your employer will usually pay your tax for you.

Worker

You might be considered a worker if you:

  • Have a contract or agreement to perform services or work for a reward (money or benefit in kind).

  • You have a limited right to send someone else to do the work.

  • You have to turn up for work whether you want to or not.

  • You aren’t doing the work as part of your own company where your employer is considered a client or customer.

 

Your rights will vary depending on which of the above categories you fall under.

©2020 by The University of Exeter Community Law Clinic.