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Employment Status

When you take on work as a musician, it is essential that you know if you are an employee, a worker or self-employed as each employment status comes with different responsibilities and rights.

Last updated: 15 March 2021

In the UK different types of employment status attract certain important legal rights.

Employee status

An employee is a person who works under a contract of employment. Key tests for employment status are:

  • Mutual obligations
  • Personal service: you must provide your own work or skill in the performance of service for the employer (i.e. you cannot deputise the work).
  • Control: the employer controls how your work is carried out.

Worker status

A worker is a person who has entered into or works under a contract of employment, or any other contract whereby they undertake to provide personal service.

Key tests for worker status are:

  • Personal service: you must provide your own work or skill in the performance of the service but you can have a limited power to deputise to a substitute.
  • Business undertaking: you should not be genuinely self-employed with the other party to the contract being a genuine customer or client of your business undertaking.
  • Mutual obligations

Self-employed status

If you are not an employee or a worker then you will probably be self-employed. In this case the teacher offers their service as an independent contractor, known as a ‘contract for services’. 

This means that you (the contractor) have control over when, where and how you deliver the work and should be able to set fees and deputise the work if you wish to. You are also responsible for organising your own tax and National Insurance contributions.

Be clear about whether you are employed or self-employed in your work. You should always work under a contract which sets out terms and conditions such as holiday pay, sickness pay and parental or adoption pay. If your employer or engager proposes any changes to your contract then get in touch with your Regional Office

If you are unsure about your employment status, or whether you are receiving the rights you are due, contact your Regional Office immediately.

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