The determination of an individual’s employment status is not always straightforward and there is no single definition. Employment tribunals and HMRC may consider different factors in deciding the issue. This topic explores the distinctions in statute and common law between an employee (who works under a contract of employment), a worker and an independent contractor. This topic examines each of these in turn, including the tests established by common law to determine employment status. It also considers the atypical types of contract that have grown in popularity in recent years, notably part-time and fixed-term contracts, zero-hours contracts, apprentices and individuals employed by employment agencies.

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