Self-employed people are those who do not have a contract of employment from a company or another person. This can leave them vulnerable and at risk in the workplace. Rights are a set of rules that cannot be taken away from anyone and serve as legal protection. Rights are different from privileges as they are not earned.
In the Gig Economy, people are called ‘Giggers’ or ‘Freelancers’. They work for a limited amount of time and on specific tasks usually stated in a contract or an agreement. Having a contract signed for a job is one way to protect freelancers in their job, and protect the rights of the person.
In the UK, where there were more than 5 million self-employed workers recorded by the fourth quarter of 2019, the bar has been set higher than most European countries for protecting freelancers. If you are self-employed then you are not entitled to the basic employment rights of regular employees. Whether if you are based in the UK or working for a UK Company, here are some of the key self-employment rights that you should be aware of:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – Employers must protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ at work of all their employees, even others on their premises which includes temps, casual workers, the self-employed, clients, visitors and the general public.
- Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 – the law exists to give workers and employers the minimum standards they could expect from private sector recruitment agencies and employment businesses.
- Protection against discrimination– no matter what race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief a person has, they are entitled to be treated fairly and not less than any others. Due to these “protected characteristics”, the UK law integrally put it into labour law that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person.