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BOGUS SELF-EMPLOYMENT AND HEALTH & SAFETY

Government consults on proposed new ‘self-employment’ rules 

A consultation document proposes new rules to determine construction industry employment status.

The changes are designed to remove what the government regards as “false self-employment” where workers are treated as self-employed when the facts indicate an employment relationship exists.

The effect of the proposal is that many more construction workers will be regarded as employees thereby increasing business costs and reducing worker renumeration.

The document proposes that construction workers will be deemed employed unless at least one of the following criteria is met. The worker engaged to carry out the work must provide:

  • the plant and equipment required for the job excluding normal trade tools;
  • all materials required to complete the job they are engaged to carry out or;
  • other workers to carry out work with responsibilty for paying them.

If none of these conditions apply the worker will have to be regarded as employed.

Comment: The consultation document states that ‘false self-employment’ has safety implications. It is said to contribute to “a culture of employers neglecting their wider responsibilities in accordance with employment law. There is also a risk of a failure by the industry to invest adequately in training and skills for the future.”

However, the proposal acknowledges that workers will not automatically become an employee for employment law purposes if they are determined to be an employee for tax purposes under these rules. All comments should be submitted by 12 October 2009.

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