We have recently had a court case where a so called self employed person who was dismissed after requesting to reduce his working week after suffering a heart attack from 5 days to 3 days, which was denied and he was dismissed, he has won his case, he had worked solely for this company for 6 years.
The court ruled that he was classed as a worker, not self employed, because:
"Although Smith paid self-employed tax and was VAT-registered, the Court of Appeal ruled that he was a worker based upon his lack of control over the work, as he was contractually obliged to do a minimum number of hours work a week and did not have the right to transfer his work to a subordinate"
This to me is not the only point, he solely worked for this company, he did the work that they acquired, he drove their branded van and wore their branded uniform, to the public he would of appeared to of been an employee of the company and he worked solely for them for 6 years, this in my opinion is not been self employed, I am self employed, I find my own work, I survey the jobs, I price the job, I send the quote out, if I win the job I design the job, supply the materials then do the job and then invoice the job and get paid for the job, I also have all the other paper work associated with running my own business and like many others, my job is not 9-5, or set within any set hours, I work whatever hours are necessary to acheive what I want to acheive, but ultimately I am free to work whatever hours I choose.
I have also worked on the other side, both as an employee and self employed working direct for one company, neither of them is the same as what I do now and apart from the holiday pay and paying standard tax and NI, the working conditions working direct for one company as a self employed plumber and as an employee where basically the same, I worked the hours set by the company at the agreed pay, so is that really been self employed?, in my personal opinion, no
The industry needs workers who can work for one company, then shift to another, as the industry need these types of workers but maybe its time to have another category for this type of work in the eyes of the law and the HMRC, maybe we should have Self Employed for those truly working for themselves and running their own business, then a category of Sub Contractor for those working for solely one company currently seen as self employed, they should have different HMRC rules applied and different pay structure including holiday pay, basically its just another grey area within our industry that needs clarification.
In my opinion it is wrong for companies to have self employed working solely for them for years, wearing their branded work wear and driving the company branded van, in effect giving the public the impression they are employees, but allowing the company to avoid the costs and benefits associated with having them as an employee.
What is your opinion on this?