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Check your employment status

This advice applies to Wales

It is important that you find out what your employment status is and understand how it affects your rights. 

There are 3 main employment statuses:

  • employee
  • worker
  • self-employed

If you're an employee, you have rights at work. If you're a worker, you'll also have rights at work but not as many as an employee. 

Your employment status depends on what actually happens when you're at work. That might not be the same as what your contract says about your status. 

An employer might try to call you ‘self-employed’ when you’re actually an employee or worker. Employers sometimes do this to take away their employees’ employment rights. 

If you think your employer has done this you can:

Check if you’re an employee

You’re an employee if:

  • your employer is in charge of what work you do and how you should go about it on a day to day basis (even if you’re left alone to actually do the work) 
  • under your contract you have to do the work yourself - you can’t pass it onto someone else
  • your contract guarantees you a specific amount of work - and you have to do it

Check if you’re a worker

You’re probably a worker if:

  • under your contract you have to do the work you’re given yourself - you can’t pass it on to someone else
  • your employer isn’t a client or customer of a business that you run
  • your employer is in charge - for example, they decide what you get paid and can discipline you if you do something wrong

You can check what rights you have if you’re a worker on GOV.UK. 

It can be difficult to decide if you're worker - if you're not sure, talk to an adviser

If you’re an agency worker

If you’re working through an agency, you will usually be a worker for the agency. This means you’ll:

  • be sent to do work for another business, which is a client of the agency
  • only have a contract with the agency - not the business where you’re working

You can read more about agency workers' rights.

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