Employed or self-employed?

Employed or self-employed?


If you can answer ‘Yes’ to all of the following questions, you are probably an employee.

  • Do you have to do the work yourself?
  • Can someone tell you at any time what to do, where to carry out the work or when and how to do it?
  • Do you work a set amount of hours?
  • Can someone move you from task to task?
  • Are you paid by the hour, week, or month?
  • Can you get overtime pay or bonus payment?


If you can answer ‘Yes’ to all of the following questions, it will usually mean you are self-employed.

  • Can you hire someone to do the work for you or engage helpers at your own expense?
  • Do you risk your own money?
  • Do you provide the main items of equipment you need to do your job, not just the small tools many employees provide for themselves?
  • Do you agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of how long the job may take?
  • Can you decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services?
  • Do you regularly work for a number of different people?
  • Do you have to correct unsatisfactory work in your own time and at your own expense?

Casual, or part-time working

The same considerations to determine employment status will apply even if you work part-time or on a casual basis. Unless you can answer ‘Yes’ to the self-employed questions above, you will normally be an employee.

More than one job


  • you have more than one job, or
  • you work for a number of different people for a few days or weeks at a time you will need to answer the questions regarding Tax and National Insurance contributions for each job.

If you provide services to many people and do not work regularly for one person to the exclusion of others, this may affect whether your work for each is as an employee, or as a self-employed person.

Remember, just because you are employed or self-employed in one job, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be in another job.

You could even be an employee and self-employed at the same time. For example, you could

  • be employed as a part-time shop assistant and spend the rest of your time running your own business from home, or
  • work full-time in a factory as an employee, and run a part-time business in the evening or weekends.

You may have a number of casual or part-time activities, and in some may be an employee and in others self-employed. It all depends on the facts.

This business advice article is subject to © Crown Copyright
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