I work as a creative artworker / typesetter, laying out jobs from briefs supplied, for a variety of the company's clients (music industry / record labels), and on and using the equipment provided for me.
I would be expected to start the working day at 9.30am like everyone else, though most days, I and my self-employed colleagues would be there earlier to get on with the ongoing work.
Because of the, at most times, consistently large workload, we would be allowed to work as many hours as we liked, because we were the people generally entrusted to complete all the artwork requirements prior to the jobs going to print.
This job management responsibility though would come under the direction of one of the Joint Deputy Managing Directors, who was also in charge of the production team who would organise the repro and distribution of artwork to the individual clients or third party printers. Only recently were we informed that in order to save money we were asked to cap our hours at ten hours daily.
Despite the open-endedness of the daily working hours, it is ultimately the company MD and her joint deputies that would determine our hours, but we would be expected to work a full working day.
The only time when our days were structured differently was a two-week period about 18 months ago, when the three of us would start at slightly different times in the day so that we wouldn't have to be paid for full days. This was purely and simply a cost-cutting measure whilst incoming work was a little slack. We were all back working more than full-time hours once the two weeks were up.
As mentioned, one of the joint deputy MDs and a couple of production managers were the staff members that determined who does what and when - we would generally all work as a team to see that deadlines were met. But ultimately it was their decision if we should shelve a particular job for the time being and work on another if the deadline was a particularly pressing one.
I do not have anything in writing. I, like the other artworkers, were engaged privately and independently, and we all operate as individuals, responsible for our own tax and national insurance. Since there is no contract I would be free to do my own freelance work with other clients - but not in the full-time hours that we would be expected to fill with this employer.
For the first year and a half of working for this company, I would periodically work for another company on a freelance basis from home - but only in my own time. This other client had no links whatsoever in work or industry sector, to the one I was working for on a full-time basis.
I hope this helps clarify things, but please feel free to ask me more if you should need to...
Kind regards, Chris.
Okay, thanks for that - it does seem to be a bit of a minefield, this employment status business in the UK...
To summarise - no formal and written contract - likely to be no compensation in the form of one month's notice like an employee may be due, unless I can successfully play the 'unfair, not sporting' card.
Given that I work under their guidance and with their equipment, at their desk, sitting on their chair, having my own phone and email address (both appearing against a list of staff members we are included on), and being expected to turn up for work like everyone else who is a full-time employee, and being directed in the work that we do, I have a solid argument for being considered a worker and as such could reach a settlement regarding a fair claim for holiday pay.
I should also point out that we were expected to keep a daily timesheet record of the jobs and the time spent on them during each day. These would then accompany the invoice submitted at the end of each week. Whether this has any bearing on the matter I don't know.
There was only ever one day in the whole time I was with this company that the three of us put down 'Waiting for work' on our timesheets when the tray of work was empty. They didn't like it, and they said so, but we were still paid for the hour and a half or so before jobs became available for us to work on again.
And the same has happened whenever the server has been down during the day whilst we were there. We would put 'Server down' and the amount of time before we were able to start work again. As it was not our fault that these things happened, we always argued if the point was raised that we were expected in for the day, and should be paid for at least the basic eight hours since we have given up our time to work for them and are there at their behest.
At no point has any money ever been deducted from our payments for the invoices we have submitted due to any of the above, so in that regard we are more like employees, but if not, it strengthens in your opinion, my argument that in the face of an employment tribunal, the case for being considered a worker is reasonably sound.
Please give me your final thoughts, and I'll leave you to enjoy your weekend. I would like to thank you for your time and consideration, and hopefully I can resolve this situation amicably with this employer.
Kind regards, and thanks again,