Introduction to employment status

Case study

Lewis has taught part-time for two years for a Music Service (who are the lead Hub organisation). He loves the work and looks forward to the contact he gets with other instrumental teachers he meets in the schools he works in. In a conversation with one teacher, he learns that the teacher has been contracted on a different employment contract from his one.

This means, for example, that the other teacher would be paid if they could not come into work because they were ill. Lewis has never been ill on a teaching day but he is concerned that he would lose income if he were ever sick.

As a member of the Musicians’ Union, Lewis approached his representative and asked them to explain why his contract appeared to be different. The MU rep explained to him that if he were to become sick,  he would be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. They also explained to him that because he had satisfactorily passed his probationary period, he had an entitlement to other employment benefits such as holiday pay, access to a pension scheme and Statutory Paternity Pay as his other colleagues did.

Lewis checked this out with the Music Service and, in turn, the Music Service recognised how important it was to clarify what benefits teachers had on their contracts and produced a clear set of guidelines for their tutors and a staff handbook.

What you need to know

It is essential that you are aware of what the employment status is of the music tutors that you are engaging with. This is relevant in terms of pay, the rights and responsibilities they have.

In deciding the employment status of an individual, a variety of factors and circumstances need to be considered and not just the terms of contract. Currently, there is no single test to determine whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed. Factors to consider include:

  • control
  • personal service
  • equipment
  • financial risk
  • basis of payment
  • mutuality of obligation
  • holiday pay, sick pay and pension rights
  • part and parcel of the organisation
  • right to terminate a contract
  • personal factors
  • length of engagement
  • intention of the parties

(Cooke J said in - Case Law: Market Investigations Ltd v Minister of Social Security -