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Self employment and benefits

If you or your partner are working, or thinking of starting work, as a self employed person you might qualify for welfare benefits to top up your income. The benefits you are entitled to will depend on a number of things, including your age, the number of hours you work and how much you earn.

Am I employed or self employed?

Working out if you are self employed is usually straightforward. If you run your own small business or work for a variety of clients and are able to choose when you work and who for, you are almost certainly self employed.

Some people think they are self employed however, or are told they are self employed by the people who are engaging their services, when they are should actually be classed as workers or employees.

Workers and employees have certain statutory rights, such as being paid the national minimum wage.

Casual workers, people on zero hour contracts and temps (those temporarily working for an employer where their contract is actually with an agency) are all still usually classed as workers or employees.

You do not have to have a written contract to be considered a worker or employee. Your regular working arrangements are more important. There is no single legal definition of whether you are employed or self employed. Some factors that might be considered if the situation is unclear include:

  • Whether you work for one person or organisation at a time

  • Whether you have to work a set number of hours

  • If you can be told how, when and where to do your work

  • Whether you have to do the work yourself or are free to pay someone else to do it.

If you are unsure what your status should be, use the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to find further help and advice.