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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45393
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello, I teach at the Exeter University. I am self employed

Resolved Question:

Hello,
I teach at the Exeter University. I am self employed and considered to be teaching on a casual/occasional contract. I am paid by the hour as an associate lecturer.
I have been employed by the university to teach during term time since Spring 2009. Next year will be my 7th year working here. Each year I am asked to do more teaching and I now regularly convene huge undergraduate modules (with 100 students and facilitating/managing a team of staff and Phd teaching assistants). I am teaching tons now and the admin continue to add up. I have an office and my workload is that of a permanent staff member on a .5 contract. But, I do not have this. What are my rights, if I have any? Someone told me that there was a law that works toward preventing abuse of casual contracts in education. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/2034/made

They keep employing me every year, but have yet to make me part time and permanent. I was wondering if you could help please?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer:

Hello Ben.

Customer:

Hello? I haven't seen an answer to respond to yet. I need to leave my computer for a bit. I will check in later on.

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry

Ben Jones :

connection dropped, I will deal with your query in your absence and you can check back in a bit

Customer:

No worries. Great thanks very much.

Ben Jones :

I am in a meeting myself now but I am going to respond shortly

Ben Jones :

Before I proceed can you please answer these questions and let me know whether you believe yourself to be an employee or self employed

Ben Jones :

www.hmrc.gov.uk/employment-status/index.htm#1

Customer:

I was an employee of the University year for 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11. In these 3 academic years I only taught on 1 or 2 modules. Then when they began asking me to teach 3 and 4 modules a year they asked me to change to self-employed. So for 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14

Customer:

I have been self employed for those years

Customer:

And next year (2014-15) it is the same- they would like me to teach 4 modules again. I will be self- employed.

Customer:

So it looks like as soon as I started teaching loads (and taking on loads more responsibility) they made me self employed.

Customer:

Can they seriously keep employing me like this and not make me permanent, part time?

Ben Jones :

Hi, so according to the HMRC tests, are you self employed now or an employee, regardless of what the employer calls you?

Customer:

Oh- I am self employed. I became self employed when the University asked me to. HMRC has me registered as self employed. My tax return is for self employed work.

Ben Jones :

ok the fixed-term regulations which you linked to earlier will not apply to you as these only apply to employees, not the self employed. If you are genuinely self employed then unfortunately your rights will be very limited in these circumstances - there is no legal obligation on an employer to make you permanent in any way - you are employed on a contract for service and that will only be as long as it is stated in its terms - once the contract expires or you are given notice under it then that would be it, until they decide to employ you again. You do not have protection against unfair dismissal, or to be made permanent in any way - these are the pitfalls of self employment - you are employed as needed and as per the terms of the contract you have, this can be terminated at any time as per its terms, like giving you notice.

Customer:

They are talking about potentially giving me a fixed term contract for next year- as an employee. Not as self-employed. What are my rights then? If any?

Ben Jones :

then you have the rights not to be treated detrimentally just because you are a fixed term employee, for example you should not be selected for dismissal just because you are a fixed term employee, also if you are employed ion successive fixed term contracts for 4 years ro more you automatically become permanent

Customer:

So I would have to be on that kind of contract for 4 years to be made permanent?

Ben Jones :

yes and they have to be successive, without any breaks

Customer:

Okay. They really found the loop hole with that! I do the work of a permanent staff member and I continue to be employed. Seems unfair that they can avoid that by making me be self- employed.

Ben Jones :

well if you are self employed then you are that unfortunately - you do not have to take the work, but equally they do not have to offer it to you. If you want to take it then it would be on the terms offered, unless you can agree something else.

Customer:

As the work load is the same. They've just called it something different.

Customer:

Okay. Thanks. I'll probably also check in with my union. I appreciate your confirmation on this. I thought as much. It's frustrating that the law doesn't really protect abuse of casual workers here. So the Uni can say they don't use any fixed term contracts so they don't ever have to give permanent contracts. But they still use me again and again for lots of teaching. Nothing casual about what I do. :)

Customer:

Anyway thanks. I'll give you an excellent rating. :)

Ben Jones :

Thank you but remember it is not what you are called that determines your status hence why the earlier link - even if you are called self employed you could actually be an employee in reality and have better rights so check these again carefully

Customer:

If I give an invoice every month to the university (no salary or PAYE) and I pay my taxes as self employed, I'm pretty sure I have a self employed status.

Customer:

It makes sense that as soon as I started to teach a lot more they conveniently required me to change my status.

Customer:

But I will check all of this again carefully. I just find it to be unconscionable- but passion has no place in the law I know!

Ben Jones :

Unfortunately morals and the law are often far apart, that's for certain

Customer:

Thanks again. I'll keep fighting the good fight.

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45393
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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