Self Employment, Contractors & Agency Workers

The employment rights of your staff will depend on their employment status. Whether you use self-employed contractors, workers or employees, our lawyers can help you decide what employment relationships will work for your business.

Businesses risk costly litigation if they don’t classify their staff correctly. It’s also important for individuals to understand their own employment status and the rights associated with it.

We have dedicated teams that focus on helping businesses of all sizes or individuals with employment status issues. We aim to solve issues pro-actively and give pragmatic advice specific to your situation.

What Are Some Common Employment Status Issues For Businesses?

The most common issues arise when businesses give self-employed contractors or workers (including agency workers) the wrong employment status.

Employees have more rights than any other category of staff. They have all the rights of workers and self-employed staff. They also have the right to a redundancy payment and to claim unfair dismissal.

Workers have rights such as holiday pay and National Minimum Wage. The category with the least employment protection rights are the self-employed staff.

Classifying someone as self-employed instead of as an employee or worker could allow them to bring an employment tribunal claim against you.

Our team of employment solicitors have years of experience in dealing with employment status issues. We could help you classify any contractors or workers correctly so you can avoid legal issues later on.

What Common Employment Law Problems Do Workers Or Contractors Face?

Working for a business that’s given you the wrong employment status could mean you’re missing out on important employment law rights. If you’re classified as a self-employed contractor, you won’t have the same rights as an employee, such as the rights to:

  • Paid holidays
  • Paid sick leave
  • A fair dismissal.

If you should be classified as an employee and are dismissed without a fair process, you could bring an unfair dismissal claim against your employer.

You can also face issues if you’re not sure who your employer is - especially if you’ve been placed with an employer by an agency. Sometimes your employer can change throughout your placement, making it difficult to know who you have a contract with and what rights you’re entitled to.

We’ve helped many people clarify their employment status and bring claims against their employer for unfair dismissal or unlawful treatment. If you’re unsure about where you stand, contact our team today on 01142 781 629 or contact us online.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

We can support employers by:

  • Advising you on the different types of employment status and what would work best for your business
  • Reviewing your contracts to minimise uncertainty and risk over employment status
  • Advising on managing your workforce to avoid employment status claims
  • Representing and supporting you should you receive an employment tribunal claim.

We can support individuals by:

  • Advising you on your employment status
  • Reviewing a proposed contract to make sure it reflects your rights under your correct employment status
  • Helping you make a claim against your employer for an incorrect employment status, unfair dismissal or unlawful treatment.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Our employment lawyers help both employers and individuals with employment status issues. We’ve handled a wide variety of situations in different sectors, and will apply this experience and expertise to achieve the best outcome for you.

We have offices throughout the country so wherever you’re based, we have an expert who can help. Employment status can be complex but we can make sure that you’re protected if you run a business or are working for a business where your status is unclear.

Contact Us

Whether you’re an employer or an individual, our expert employment lawyers can help you with any employment status issues. Give our friendly team a call on 01142 781 629or get in touch online.

Business News

Our lawyers are regularly asked to provide expert insight, advice and analysis for the national media. Take a look at the stories below to see what we’re saying, as well as some of the recent deals we have completed for our clients here in the UK and abroad.

Recent Deals

Camfil AB

Advised the global Swedish based air filtration manufacturer on its acquisition of Bushbury Holdings Ltd

Claremont School

Advised the independent day and boarding school on its sale to International Schools Partnership Ltd

Electronic Data Processing Plc

Advised the software company on its £12m sale to Eagle Bidco 2018 Ltd

Hallam Land Management Limited

£50m sale of land in Bedfordshire to Bovis Homes and Linden Homes – the culmination of 17 years' work with Hallam Land on this project.

CovPress (Grant Thornton)

Advised Grant Thornton on the administration of engineering business CovPress and subsequent sale to Liberty Industries.


Acquisition of the former Hanningtons Estate in Brighton for over £50m from West Register for redevelopment as a new ‘Brighton Lane’.

Honda Motor Europe

Deal to take 70,000 sq. ft. at Reflex, Cain Road, Bracknell - one of the largest Thames Valley office lettings in the past 12 months.

Wells Fargo

£4bn loan book acquisition, one of the largest commercial real estate debt transactions ever.


Landmark deal with Manchester City Council and Allied London to redevelop its 13.5 acre former Granada site.

Engage ESM

Advised Engage ESM on the sale of the business to French-owned Atos SE.

Royal Bank of Scotland

£3m funding package to EMSc, a Sheffield company specialising in manufacturing energy saving devices for a range of clients including the Whitbread Group and Asda.

National outsourcing business

We successfully defended on a substantial multi-party tribunal claim for age discrimination.

Find one of our solicitors near you

We have offices in major cities throughout the UK and our lawyers can arrange to visit you or your business in person if necessary. We also have international capability, with global links to other legal specialists.

Awards & Accreditations

We’re proud of the recognition we’ve received for our business legal work. For a list of awards and accreditations, please visit our awards page.

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