Creating a fairer Britain
The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 10. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.
It is important to establish the employment status of a member of staff as many of the rights referred to in this toolkit apply only to employees. For example, only employees are entitled to:
In certain cases, it can be very difficult to establish who is and who is not an employee. An “employee” is defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996 as “an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under) a contract of employment”. Relevant characteristics which tend to suggest an employer-employee relationship include:
The definition of an employee for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay purposes is wider and considers anyone who has tax and National Insurance contributions deducted from their earnings through PAYE to be an employee for SMP, SAP and SPP purposes. This means that most workers, apart from those who are genuinely self-employed and pay their own tax and National Insurance, can claim SMP, SAP or SPP providing they meet the usual qualifying conditions.
All workers are protected against sex discrimination and have the right to a health and safety risk assessment.
The Agency Worker’s Directive, which the government is required to transpose into UK law by December 2011, will introduce further pregnancy and maternity rights for agency workers.
If you have any queries about a member of staff’s entitlement, you should contact the ACAS on 0845 7 47 47 47 or visit the ACAS website.