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or is my boss taking the piss

(28 Posts)
teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 20:59:15

For the last 5 years I've had a lovely job, making bags at home to order for my boss who sells them for £££. Really flexible, has fitted in well with kids but recently have got increasingly annoyed by the one sided nature of the relationship. I'm self employed, so no holiday pay/sickness/pension or any job security or control over monthly pay and my boss can be pretty tight with travel expenses

I've just found an 'employment status checker' tool and realised that for the past 5 years, I should have been classed as an employee rather than self employed (even though I file my own tax returns).

I'm not really 100% sure what this means and how I should raise this with my employer as I can't imagine it will go down well but I do feel a bit taken advantage of - not sure if IBU or not!

Musicaltheatremum Sat 27-Feb-16 21:02:53

Not good for your manager as he will have to pay your tax and your employer NI contributions.

sootica Sat 27-Feb-16 21:02:57

Maybe say you've been told by an accountant / HMRC this is how it should be

Ameliablue Sat 27-Feb-16 21:04:38

On what grounds did the checked say you were an employee rather than self employed?

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:08:13

Amelia - the tool said it's down to substitution, if I couldn't make the bags, I couldn't get someone else to do it, and control.

Choughed Sat 27-Feb-16 21:12:25

If you are self employed how is your pay calculated? Do you have a contract?

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:12:41

Sootica - I did wonder about saying this, but then wouldn't have anything to back it up with! I'm just unsure of the implications - aside from them paying tax and NI, would I also be owed holiday pay? Is what they are doing illegal? I'm totally clueless unfortunately hence finding myself in this situation

Berthatydfil Sat 27-Feb-16 21:13:40

Can you make the bags and sell them yourself ?

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:15:37

Choughed - I have a contract from them which is more about me not nicking the designs. I'm paid monthly, per bag so 10 bags = £100. Price per bag is not detailed in the contract.

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:17:13

Berth - I could make the bags but my contract prevents me from doing so.

Evabeaversprotege Sat 27-Feb-16 21:20:30

So you make bags, get paid £10 - how much do they sell them for?

Sallygoroundthemoon Sat 27-Feb-16 21:23:27

It sounds like you are a self-employed bag maker, who contracts her services to someone else. Do you invoice your boss for your services? It makes sense that you would be stopped from copying your boss's designs but there should be no reason why you could not work elsewhere or for yourself making bags. But if you are concerned I'd suggest you get some help from a solicitor experienced in employment law.

unimaginativename13 Sat 27-Feb-16 21:28:04

So if you were employed t eye could control your working hours? Do yo want to be employed?

Choughed Sat 27-Feb-16 21:35:08

Do you sell the bags to anyone else?

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:35:11

Eva - £100's - deliberately trying not to out myself but they are bespoke, I make and attach the detail to them.

Sally - this is what I thought. However, the hmrc tool says otherwise. Yes, I work from home, my own hours BUT all tools/materials are supplied, I've been trained by boss to make these (ie can't get my assistant to make them on my behalf in the same way I could if I was making bespoke shelves for a client) and the terms/prices have been determined my boss, not me.

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:38:48

Unimaginative - I think I could still be employed and control my own working hours as am paid per piece.

Choughed - no, boss taught me how to make these, contract states I can't make these or any thing similar.

BigGreenOlives Sat 27-Feb-16 21:39:04

So each bag takes 45 minutes to an hour to make? Your boss/employer is taking the Mickey if they take any longer.

LobsterQuadrille Sat 27-Feb-16 21:39:42

Is this what you used for your definition?

www.gov.uk/employment-status

How was it decided five years ago that you would be categorised as self-employed - did your boss suggest it and you agreed?

Ihatefootball Sat 27-Feb-16 21:43:45

It can be tricky, this situation. I am in a similiar one. I do a job, which was requested by the owner of the business that I am self employed. To get the job, I said yes. By rights, I should be employed, going by the same guidelines that the op has read, but I cannot make my "boss" employ me. And I want the job. So I send him my hours every month and he pays me. But I should be employed and have asked if he would and he said he'd rather not.

Lifeisbeautiful2 Sat 27-Feb-16 21:44:34

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/basic-rights-and-contracts/contracts-of-employment/#h-how-to-tell-if-someone-is-an-employee-or-not

This might be useful to look at if you need clarification.

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:44:35

Big green - yes about that, works out about £10/h (sometimes more, sometimes less).

Lobster - no... I used this www.gov.uk/guidance/employment-status-indicator. The job was advertised as a self employed position which I was fine with. It's only recently I've begun to question if it's fair.

newmumwithquestions Sat 27-Feb-16 21:52:58

Sorry this is a long winded. It's complicated and I'm not that knowledgeable, but I contract myself and there are a few things at stake here.... Research IR35 regulations to give you some background. The regs came about when companies were making employees redundant then hiring them back as contractors, the companies saved by not paying things such as holiday and benefits and the contractors saved by paying less tax so everyone was a winner... Apart from the taxman. Queue regulations to close the loophole.

There are several things that determine if you are a contractor rather than a staff member. Ability to do work in your chosen hours is one (ie rather than being required 9-5), and at whatever location you choose (ie from home) and usually you would be paid based on output - ie are you paid £x per bag rather than paid £x per hour to work on bag making? If so it sounds like you are self employed...
There is a clause about substitution though as you rightly say - could you subcontract the work if required? When I set up a contract its between whoever I am working for and my company, not me personally. That in theory allows the work to be completed by another employee of my company (but there aren't any). This is a bit of a confusing one though eg if I got a tradesman in to do something on the house I wouldn't necessarily let them substitute someone else to do the work half way through but that doesn't mean they are my employee... So it's not clear cut.

If these conditions aren't being met then potentially you should be an employee, entitled to holiday, sickness, etc, and she should be paying NI, and have employers insurance and potentially be providing benefits. But you should be paying PAYE on your earnings.

Please be careful on this though as my understanding is that if you are not really self employed then you could both be in trouble if you have been paying too little tax, or filing your tax returns incorrectly.

teenytinyshells Sat 27-Feb-16 21:53:42

Ihatefootball - glad it's not just me!

Lifeis - thanks for that, according to this, sounds like I'm employed too.

LogicalThinking Sat 27-Feb-16 21:55:26

If you are paid per bag and work hours to suit you then I think you are self employed.
Surely the woman wouldn't know if you made them yourself or got someone else to make them.

newmumwithquestions Sat 27-Feb-16 22:06:13

Sorry just read that you are paid per bag.
Also just read that you aren't allowed to make the same bags for anyone else. I'm pretty sure they are allowed to protect their designs but they can't dictate that you can't make bags for other people (ie using your own designs). It's also a bit dodgy that they provide the materials for you to do the job.

I guess the question is what do you hope to gain.... If they aren't doing this properly you could get them into trouble, but you still wouldn't be an employee....

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