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Employment Law: Worker status

adrian_fryerThe worker status bubble has expanded recently and found its way into the public sector. In Braine v The National Gallery, an employment tribunal has held that art educators are workers when they are working on individual assignments.

The educators were art experts. Their role was to deliver talks, lectures and workshops at the National Gallery. Their contracts said they were self-employed. The individuals said they were employees and/or workers. The employment tribunal found they were workers, but only during actual assignments, not in between. During assignments, the Gallery exerted significant control over the individuals, both in what they did and the way they did it. They were well integrated into the Gallery’s organisation. There was mutuality of obligation during assignments: the educators had to do the work and the Gallery had to pay for it. The educators had to do the work personally. They were not running their own small businesses.

The judge in this case reiterated that these cases are fact sensitive. Employers should examine whether they use individuals who fall into the ‘intermediate category’ between employed and self-employed. Such individuals might have additional rights like the minimum wage and paid holiday.

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