Determining employment status can be quite tricky.

When trying to figure out whether someone should be employed, self-employed or a worker, try to consider the following:

  • Substitution – does the contractor have the option to send a substitution to complete the works?
  • Control – does the employer control the workload and the way in which it is carried out?
  • Mutuality of Obligation – is the employer obligated to provide work/is the worker obligated to accept work?
  • Risk – with whom does the risk lie? Would the contractor stand to make a financial loss if services provided were inadequate? If they do not perform adequately, would they lose the contract (contractor) or be subject to performance management (employee)

The below table may help identify whether someone should be employed or not.

Employed Worker Self-employed
They are required to work regularly unless they are on leave Their work for the organisation is more casual, for example their work is less structured or not regular They are responsible for how and when they work
They are employed to do the work themself They are employed to do the work yourself They are able to send someone else to do the work for in their place
They can expect work to be consistently available They are not offered regular or guaranteed hours by their employer They get contracts to provide services for clients
They cannot refuse to do the work They have very little obligation to make yourself available for work, but should do work they’ve agreed to They are able to work for different clients and charge different fees
The employer, manager or supervisor is in charge of their workload They are the owner of a company or are a freelancer
They invoice for pay instead of getting a wage

A useful tool for determining status can be found on the HMRC website. However, this is not a catch all, consider softer checks such as whether the individual appears on an organisation chart, are they in receipt of any benefits – including invites to staff events. Once determined, communicate status to the individual along with any necessary contractual documents.

A common problem for PCCs in establishing employment status is the music department. Music departments often fall between two stools and employment status is often determined by the reality of the relationship.

Are the musicians:

  • Singing/Playing for regular services and rehearsals?
  • Paid the same amount each month?
  • Unable to send substitutes (deputies)?
  • Subject to direct supervision?
  • Subject to performance review?

Then they are likely to be employed

Further guidance and a template contract can be found on the Royal School of Church Music website.