• technology
  • November 23, 2017

The Gig Economy: The Pros and Cons of Taking on a Self-Employed Contractor

By Lawbite Team

Book a call

The rapid rise of temporary work arrangements, or the 'gig economy', offering flexible work is coming under increasing attack, as the Employment Appeal Tribunal recently confirmed that Uber drivers were workers, and not self-employed. So, what are the advantages to a business of engaging someone on a self-employed basis?

  • They provide a business with flexibility, without the administration that is often involved with employees, even those engaged on a short-term basis. Normally you have no PAYE or National Insurance contributions to administer – payments are made without deductions as you would pay any other supplier.
  • They are often available on short notice, no waiting around before they can start, and they don’t have the same legal protection as employees, like unfair dismissal, at the end of their employment contract.
  • They can provide expertise that a business wouldn’t otherwise have and are generally happy to be engaged for a short-term project. This allows the business and its employees to focus on core products and talents. However, it may not allow your employees to learn new skills, so the key is to balance the short-term need, with long term aims and staff development.
  • While day rates for self-employed contractors are usually more than is paid to employees, which may cause resentment amongst staff, they may be cheaper overall than an employee. Contractors don’t get employee benefits like holiday and sick pay, and many work from home so don’t need office space and equipment. In addition, the business doesn’t have to pay employer national insurance contributions.

However, you do have less control over a contractor (someone who is self-employed) than an employee. You can tell an employee how to do their job, when to do it and discipline them if they don’t. With contractors, you are relying on their expertise to ensure that they achieve the task that they are engaged to perform and if their role is very specialist, no one in the business may have the expertise to quality control their services. In addition, they may not know your working practices and procedures, which can cause conflict amongst staff.

There can also be tax implications if you call an individual a contractor when they are an employee. So, you need to get it right otherwise you may face claims from HMRC for underpaid tax, penalties and interest. Make sure that it is clear both in the contract that you have with the self-employed contractor and in your day-to-day interaction with them, that they are self-employed and independent of your business.

You won’t own any intellectual property that they create, unless you have a well-drafted contract transferring it to the business, unlike an employee where most of the intellectual property that they create at work is owned automatically by their employer.

So how does your business take on staff? What do you think would be best for you, keeping in mind the above?

Louise Paull, LawBite Employment Lawbrief

If you have any questions for Louise about employment legal matters or any other legal aspect of your business you can have a FREE consultation by submitting a request here or call us today on 020 7148 1066.

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

Related Articles

Read our latest blog posts on GDPR, featuring all the latest legal news, analysis and opinion from our expert lawyers.

blog image
  • By Lawbite Team
  • May 11, 2020
Employee Dismissals During The Coronavirus Outbreak

With the Coronavirus lockdown now heading into its eighth week, all employers are taking a hard look at how they can best approach business continu...


Employee Law, Coronavirus
blog image
  • By Lawbite Team
  • May 01, 2020
Covid-19 - Guide to Furlough Staff

As the Covid-19 outbreak started to impact businesses across the country, employers have had to react to managing their workforces. To help busines...


Employee Law, Coronavirus
  • By Lawbite Team
  • April 28, 2020
Homeworking Employees? How To Protect Your Company’s Cybersecurity

As Britain enters its sixth week of Covid-19 lockdown, businesses and employees are well into the swing of working from home. However, now is not t...


Employee Law, Coronavirus

LawBite can help you

LawBite is on a mission to provide business legal advice that is easier to access, clearer to understand and much cheaper. Our on-line legal advice platform can quickly connect you with expert business legal advice. Our friendly, highly qualified business lawyers, solicitors and mediators will give you the guidance and reassurance that comes from customised legal advice for small and medium sized business.

Whether you are bringing or defending a legal claim, outsourcing work, want a business contract review to ward off disagreements, talk to an expert trademark lawyer, resolve a contractual dispute with methods like mediation and arbitration, or getting your new company set up and on the right footing with a robust shareholder agreement and GDPR standards, we can help you succeed.

defend a claim

Talk To A Lawyer

Book A Call
defend a claim

Learn more about LawBite