Types of employment status
'Employment status' is someone's legal status at work. It affects what employment rights they're entitled to and their employer's responsibilities.
There are 3 main types of employment status:
Someone's employment status is based on:
- their employment contract or 'written statement of employment particulars'
- what was agreed when they were offered the job
- the way the organisation and the individual work together
How to work out employment status
To help work out someone's employment status, check if their work situation suggests they are:
It can also be helpful to check:
- any employment contract or written statement of employment particulars
- if the employment status in the contract or written statement reflects the actual work situation
When employment status might not be clear
In some circumstances, it might not be clear whether someone is legally classed as an employee or worker. It's particularly important to work out their employment status.
For example, if they're:
- zero-hours staff
- bank staff
- working in the 'gig economy' – for example working through online platforms
- on a work experience placement or internship
- on a fixed-term or rolling contract
- a piece worker – when someone is paid for each piece of work they do
- peripatetic – someone who has no fixed workplace or works in different locations
- an employee shareholder
- a locum
An agency worker could be an employee, worker or self-employed.
Employment status for tax purposes
Employment status for tax purposes is different from employment status for employment rights purposes.
To check if someone is employed or self-employed for tax purposes, use HMRC's Check Employment Status for Tax Tool.
Directors, office holders and volunteers
Company directors, office holders and volunteers do not have the same rights as employees and workers.
Find more information on GOV.UK about:
Get more advice and support
If you have any questions about employment status, contact the Acas helpline.
You can also read GOV.UK guidance on employment status and employment rights.