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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.

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