People with 'worker' employment status have some employment rights, but not as many as employees.
What makes someone a worker
Someone is likely to be legally classed as a worker if most of these things apply:
- their work for the organisation is more casual, for example work is less structured or they do not have a regular working pattern
- they're usually required to personally do the work
- they're not offered regular or guaranteed hours by the employer
- they have very little obligation to make themselves available for work, but should do work they've agreed to
Workers are sometimes referred to as 'limb (b)' workers. This term comes from the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Workers are entitled to:
- a written statement of employment particulars outlining their job rights and responsibilities
- National Minimum Wage
- paid holiday
- protection for whistleblowing
- protection against discrimination
- protection from less favourable treatment for working part time
Workers are not usually entitled to:
- a minimum notice period if their employment is ending, for example if their employer is dismissing them
- protection against unfair dismissal
- the statutory right to request flexible working
- time off for dependants
- statutory redundancy pay
Statutory pay and leave
Depending on their National Insurance contributions, workers might also be entitled to:
- statutory sick pay (SSP)
- shared parental pay
- parental bereavement pay
- maternity, paternity and adoption pay
Workers are not entitled to:
- shared parental leave
- parental bereavement leave
- maternity, paternity and adoption leave
This is because they do not have to make themselves available for work. They can choose to take time off when they want to.
Detriment related to health and safety
An employer must not cause a worker 'detriment' because the worker:
- reasonably believes being at work or doing certain tasks would put them in serious and imminent danger
- takes reasonable steps over a health and safety issue, for example complaining about unsafe working conditions
- informs their employer about a health and safety issue in an appropriate way
Detriment means someone experiences one or both of the following:
- being treated worse than before
- having their situation made worse
Examples of detriment could be:
- an employer reduces someone's hours
- experiencing bullying
- experiencing harassment
- an employer turns down someone's training requests without good reason
- someone is overlooked for promotions or development opportunities
Detriment and dismissal
Although a worker cannot claim unfair dismissal, being dismissed is a form of detriment.
Instead of unfair dismissal, a worker could make an employment tribunal claim for suffering detriment. However, they could only recover certain losses caused by their employer.
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.