The main legal rights of freelancers

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012

I came upon this information over the weekend about freelancers’ rights at work. It’s from a site aimed at freelancers called Freelance Advisor. The information applies to the UK.

You do not have employment rights as such, as you are seen to be your own boss and so can make your own decisions on fees, holidays etc. You will not therefore be entitled to:

  • Your client company’s sick leave, company maternity pay or company pension provisions
  • The legal right to protection under your clients company’s internal disciplinary and grievance schemes
  • The legal right not be dismissed (always, however, read the contract of service you have agreed as this may contain clauses relating to termination of your agreement and time-periods).

There is, however, legal protection so:

  • You should not be discriminated against in the work place in most cases and, if you are, could make a claim to an Employment Tribunal. This protection only applies to freelancers who fall under Part 5 of the Equality Act 2010 – that is those who are described as ‘contract workers’ and are contracted personally to do the work, i.e you cannot claim discrimination against your employer if you are contracted for the provision of services and hire someone else, or sub-contract someone else, to do the work. You must do the work yourself, personally.
  • You are entitled to a Safe and Healthy working environment. See www.hse.gov.uk

Other information for freelancers

  • On the occasion that you are classed as a ‘worker’ (for employment rights) but self-employed (for tax purposes), you may be entitled to the ‘Workers’ Rights as above if you perform the work personally.
  • Most self-employed individuals will pay class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NIC’s) which give you entitlement to the basic State Pension and Statutory Maternity Allowance. Class 2 NICs do not give you entitlement to Job Seekers Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay or the additional State Pension.
  • If you are registered as a Limited Company and provide your services on a freelance basis to a client organisation (as a Provider) then you will not receive ‘workers’ rights from this organisation – it is up to you to provide yourself with ‘workers’ rights as you are employed by your own Limited Company.

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