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Categories of Worker & Working Relationships/key card-employees, workers, agency and others

Key Points

  • The Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the statutory definition of "employee" as "an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under) a contract of employment" (see for example ERA 1996 s.230(1), TULRCA 1992, s.295, National Minimum Wage Act 1998 s.54(1), Maternity & Parental Leave etc Regs 1999 reg 2 and the Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) Regulations 2002, SI 2002/3236, the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 SI 2002/2788 and Emp'tAct 2002 s.40).
  • The anti-discrimination legislation uses a wider definition than the Employment Rights Act 1996. The definition in the Equality Act 2010 is very similar to that in the earlier discrimination legislation.
  • There are different classes of workers who may or may not be employees. For example, police officers and company directors are office holders (although, of course a director can still be an employee as well as a director).
  • An agency worker whose contract is with an employment agency but who is supplied to work for a client of the agency may be an employee of either one of them or may be self-employed although the end user is most likely to be the employer.
  • There is no need for there to be a written contract to establish an employer-employee relationship.
  • Brexit effect - Unless otherwise stated, the position in relation to EU legislation and decisions as set out in this card is as it was understood at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. For information on the status of EU decisions and legislation as of 31st December 2020 please see Statement on impact of Brexit on Emplaw Online content




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