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cityguru, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13323
Experience:  Senior lawyer with 30 years experience
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I am self employed and the Company I worked for told me they

Customer Question

I am self employed and the Company I worked for told me they did not need my services anymore they were running out on money. The engagement letter I signed stated

"For the avoidance of doubt, there is no commitment for the continuous supply of tasks, and xxxx (company name) may chose to stop assigning tasks and/or terminate this agreement at any time with thirty (30) days notice. All work performed by xxxx (me) up to the point of termination will be paid for on submission of relevant invoice, and will incur a pro-rata charge if the termination date does not coincide with the end of a calendar month"

"xxxx (me) may terminate this agreement at any time by providing thirty (30) days notice to xxxx (company). xxxx (me) agrees to continue to provide the listed services up until the agreed date of termination.

I invoiced for 1 months notice and they have replied with "I do not believe there is anything in the Engagement Letter that provides for any payment for a notice period I am afraid. Paragraph 3 is quite specific that you will be paid for all work done but the flow of work is not guaranteed"

Are they right is saying this? I assumed if I terminated my employment with them I would need to work 1 month for which they would need to pay me?

Thanks for your help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  cityguru replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. if you are a self employed contractor then it entirely depends upon the contract wording.

I am afraid my view is that they are right. the wording quoted does not require them to give you any work at all. so they can give months notice but not give you any work.. the result if that is that you cannot claim a months money - only for work actually carried out.

The only way round this would be to argue that it was really employment . What was the work? Did you work exclusively for them under their direction or did you deliver specific tasks? How long we're you with them. Have they paid you for the work already done?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I worked for them as their bookkeeper keeping their books up to date to send to their accountants for them to produce monthly management accounts. I have worked for them for almost 5 years and they have paid me for the work already done. As well as their bookkeeper I done some other duties, updating technical databases and helping with meetings for clients ie. booked accommodation, provided the catering needs etc. Kind of an office manager role. The enagagement letter also states "Both parties agree to discuss in good faith the request by xxxx for the execution of additional tasks that are not deemed within the scope of Bookkeeping Services.

If I was to tell them I could not work for them anymore I'm sure they would have expected a months notice from me until they found someone to replace me and surely they would have to pay me for that?

Expert:  cityguru replied 3 years ago.

Did you have other clients? OR was this full time? Did you get paid holidays or sick pay? The arrangement may seem one sided but fi you provide services as as elf employed contractor then you have no employment rights and if the contract says they do not have to provide you with work then unless you can show that either it was really employment or that there some an implied term that you were entitled to a minimum mount of work . Was your remuneration fixed per month? Your best bet might be to write back and say that you have taken advice and in fact you are really an employee after this period and have a claim for redundancy but if they pay your month you will not pursue it. The alternative is to say that after 5 years there is clearly an implied minimum amount of work per month and they cannot just terminate summarily.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I have other clients but this company was passed over to me when I was made redundant. I done some work for them when I was employed by the company who made me redundant (there was not enough work for me full time so offered to help this company out by using me) the company in question paid the company that made me redundant direct for my time.


I did not get any sick pay or paid holidays and my remuneration was not fixed per month.


I'm not sure what you mean by writing back and say I was "really an employee after this period" The engagement letter clearly states I am not an employee of xxxx for they are not liable for NI etc.


Also, can you please explain your last paragraph I'm not quite sure what you mean?


Many thanks.


Expert:  cityguru replied 3 years ago.
Based on that I am afraid claiming to be an employee is not an option. If you were full time and worked under their direction then it might be possible but from what you say it is a genuine self employed relationship so you only really have an argument that after 5 years there is implied a minimum amount of work. It is pretty week frankly butI am just looking for ways you can get round what is pretty clear wording in the contract.
Sorry I cannot be more helpful

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