Shared office - freelancers and employees

(20 Posts)
ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Wed 20-Mar-19 15:27:17

Hello, does anyone know if freelancers and employees can share the same office? In my last job we were told they couldn't as when you treat them the same, the freelancers acquire the same rights (holiday/sick pay etc....). Thanks

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wigglypiggly Wed 20-Mar-19 15:46:23

How would sharing an office affect someones holiday and sick pay? What sort of business is it?

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Wed 20-Mar-19 15:49:24

we have freelancers and employees working in the same office space. The freelancers have different contract agreements and can pick and choose their hours/work, and they submit invoices to us for that work. Just being in the same office space doesn't make them employees.

SilverViking Wed 20-Mar-19 15:55:30

I have worked with many freelancers and subcontractors. All have shared offices with full time employees.

There were distinctions to differentiate FTE and subcon to avoid claims that sub con were direct employees ... but these changed from time to time and were around maximum time subcon could be employed by the company (without a "substantial" break of several months), subcon paying for own training, stationary, travel and conference call facilities etc, However, for security reasons, subcon used company provided laptops.

flowery Wed 20-Mar-19 16:47:22

If you treat them the same, it is entirely likely that the 'freelancers' (by which I assume you mean self-employed people), might actually be employees, yes, despite what any contract says.

But treating people the same isn't only about whether they are in the same room when they are working...It's about the nature of the working relationship. So if a self-employed person is coming into the office everyday, doesn't work for other clients, does a job that an employee would normally do, is part of the organisational structure chart, works very much under the control and direction of the company, then it is extremely unlikely the employer could make a credible argument that they were not in fact an employee.

However if you have genuinely self-employed people who are not in regularly, have other clients, are in control of their own work, invoice based on delivery of work rather than get paid by the hour, then the fact that when they visit the company they sit in the same office isn't going to be a problem.

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Wed 20-Mar-19 18:20:35

Ahh, thanks all. That's what I had thought flowery - where I worked previously as a freelancer I wasn't allowed to share an office with my employee colleagues for exactly those reasons. I was told it was because I was essentially doing the same work as my colleagues I would be able to claim holiday leave, sick leave etc.......

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ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Wed 20-Mar-19 18:22:31

Sorry, @flowery is there a law that addresses this situation and can you point me towards it? Many thanks.

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prh47bridge Wed 20-Mar-19 19:57:23

The tests as to whether someone is self-employed or an employee are mostly from case law, i.e. decisions of the courts, not an Act of Parliament.

flowery Wed 20-Mar-19 20:04:30

”Sorry, *@flowery is there a law that addresses this situation and can you point me towards it?”

As prh says, there is no specific piece of legislation but there is substantial case law establishing the principles which determine a person’s employment status.

Can you tell us what the actual issue is?

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Wed 20-Mar-19 21:12:08

Hi, thanks for your replies. It's not a big deal really I guess but our managers have decided to combine employees and freelancers in an office and neither side think it is a good plan. We, the employees (I have now become a wage slave!), do a similar job to the freelancers but we operate very differently. We are fixed features but they will be using the office more as a drop in centre and we think it will be disruptive. Guess I am just looking for some kind of stick to beat my managers with and hoping this might be it!
Thanks,

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Hoppinggreen Thu 21-Mar-19 19:38:26

My DH is an IT Contractor, he usually works in teams that include permanent staff and contractors - they often share a desk never mind an office!
He (and I ) are most definitely self employed and who we share office space with has nothing to do with this, just as simply sticking people in different rooms doesn’t dictate their employment status

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 21-Mar-19 19:54:10

our managers have decided to combine employees and freelancers in an office and neither side think it is a good plan.

I don't understand what the problem is? But then everywhere I've worked has combined perm staff with contractors/freelancers and no-one has cared. A lot of companies hot desk even if you're permanent and/or have flexible working so there are people coming and going all the time. I've never known anyone have an issue with it. But then people have jobs to do and are focussed on their work rather than caring who's perm and who's a contractor. This is the 21st century after all. It's normal. Are you hoping for some sort of feudal servant and master system OP?

BubblesBuddy Thu 21-Mar-19 20:23:50

The Tax Office (IR) has plenty to say on this. They have chased BBC “self employed” staff for back tax. It’s not law but it’s the IR rules and expectations you need to be wary of.

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Thu 21-Mar-19 20:51:57

@* HundredMilesAnHour*
Are you hoping for some sort of feudal servant and master system OP? - what a very bizarre comment. Really don't feel the need to explain myself in response to that beyond saying that neither party are happy with the arrangement and we are absolutely united in our approach to our similar/different situations.

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FrangipaniBlue Thu 21-Mar-19 22:19:52

I freelance and currently work in a building with 200ish permanent staff members hmm

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Thu 21-Mar-19 22:33:23

@* FrangipaniBlue* and?

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flowery Fri 22-Mar-19 05:38:27

”We are fixed features but they will be using the office more as a drop in centre and we think it will be disruptive. Guess I am just looking for some kind of stick to beat my managers with and hoping this might be it!”

No, from an employment status point of view that arrangement sounds fine. If you have reason to believe these individuals are going to behave disruptively when they are in the office you need to raise that concern (together with why you think that) with your manager.

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Fri 22-Mar-19 06:26:05

Thanks flowery, will do that then. Just for clarity, it is a situation of "them", the management and "us", the employees and freelancers united against a decision we don't like! Always the MN way to turn it into something else....... Thanks again for your advice.

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flowery Fri 22-Mar-19 08:04:49

If you all get on well can you not ask the freelancers to not do whatever it is you find disruptive to your work?

ComeBackPeterComeBackPaul Fri 22-Mar-19 08:21:13

Yes, I guess it will muddle along with some kind of compromise. Think we are all (yes all - both sides) just annoyed by this entirely unnecessary decision which doesn't need to happen when we have space enough to avoid it.

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