The “gig economy” and right to work status

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The distinction between employees, workers, independent contractors and agency workers has been in the spotlight since the high profile Uber case. It is something employers are, understandably, finding difficult to determine.

In a time of uncertainty regarding when staff will be found to be employees, employers need to be careful in determining whether their staff have the right to work in the UK.

Right to work in UK

Where someone is found to be an employee of your organisation, failure to carry out the necessary right to work checks could result in a civil liability fine of up to £20,000 per illegal employee.

Criminal proceedings can also be brought against employers who are found to have “reasonable cause to believe” that an employee is working illegally (a relatively low threshold).

Agency workers

If you use agency workers, make sure that the agency is carrying out the relevant right to work checks before allowing any of the agency staff to work for your organisation.

Best practice

Also, it’s best practice for all staff, volunteers and contractors, to provide the necessary information regarding their right to work in the UK, regardless of their proposed status.

No matter the capacity in which they are providing services for your organisation, you may face potential reputational damage if that person is found to be providing those services illegally.

Therefore, it is prudent to find out the requirements of their visa so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed, or take professional advice if necessary.

If you have any queries on what the changes will mean in practice for your club, please call our dedicated helplines:

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