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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48760
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I'm a self-employed Maintenance man working holiday Centre

Resolved Question:

I'm a self-employed Maintenance man working for a holiday Centre and have been with them since February 2013. For the first year I never received any contract but in early 2014 I was asked if I still wanted to remain as self-employed to which I said yes. I was given a one-year Self-Employed terms setting out various things one of which was a week's ntoice on either side to terminate my services. In October 2013 I was asked to go to another site other than that at which I normally worked and was told iin the office to claim 45p a mile for using my own vehicle as there was not a spare vehicle available for me to use. In early 2015 I was again given a oone-year self-employed terms to run until January 2016 wth the same terms as previously. However, the company I provide services for has changed its structure (for tax purposes) and is now a conglomerate of different companies. I now get paid by whichever coompany I am doing work for and, again when I go off site froo my usual place of work I have been paid the mileaagee for using my own vehicle. In late July I started work on a rented property owned by one of the companies in the holiday park "umbrella" and for the first two weeks was paid my hours worked plus the mileage. Then, out of the blue, with no notification to myself and while I was away on (unpaid) holiday, I was paid for my hours worked but not for the mileage. Prior to going on holiday I did two days work on the property and submitted my invoice/timesheet with the mileage and when I came back from holiday I was paid neither for the hours worked nor the mileage. Needless to say I did not goo back to work for the company until I knew where I stood with them as I could not understand why the mileage that had been paid too me for over two years was just abruptly stopped plus two days hours worked were being withheld. The finance officer of the holiday park lives in Austrralia, as does the owner and I e-mailed her but heard nothing from her for three days when she telephined me. She explained that as a contractor I was not entitled to mileage but agreed to pay the last ttwo weeks with my two days wages for work carried out for them. However I was told that if I used my own vehicle and was carrying the company'ss materials or was asked to collect materials etc, from suppliers on their behalf, I could claim the mileage. I went back to work for them and was duly paid the meileage and my hours worked. I then received an e-mail from the finance officer 11 days after we spoke purporting to confirm our telecon but which was rather abrupt and terse and inaccurate, stating the following:
" You contract your services to our companies. You are not an employee. As such you cannot claim any travel time travelling to and from your place of work. However, you may claim travel time when instructed/requested to use your vehicle during working hours for any purpose. (ambiguous and not what she said)
I also refer to the clauses in your contract that you quoted in your email – Item 8.2 and item 11.1.
As discussed, you have misinterpreted both of these items and I trust that I have now cleared this up with you in our conversation. (untrue)
Unfortunately this matter has only just been brought to my attention, and upon checking, it should have been raised much earlier so I apologise for this. As agreed, you will be paid in full for your last claim plus the two days that were owing for your work.
I will also point out that as a contractor, you are not necessarily paid at the same time as wages are paid to our employees. You should be paid within 5 days of you invoice being presented." (on quite a few occasions this has not happened and I have had to chase for payment).
I feel I have been rather shabbily treated and I really don't want to carry on supplying my services to this coompany and would like to give a week's notice this Friday but don't wish to actually wish to work out my notice. Can I do this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. firstly can you tell me if you have any monies due to you please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will have on Friday when I will have completed two week's work on the property owned by the sub(?) company of the one to whom I have contracted my servicces.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm still waiting for a response to my question raised yesterday. Are you able to respond or should I ask for my money back that I have paid?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello I provided my full response last night have you not received it? If not that could be due to some technical issues on our site as they are using a new platform which is still under test. If you have not received it then please let me know and I will of course get it drafted again and post it to you later today. Thank you and apologies for any inconvenience
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have received nothing since your response at 3.51pm yesterdy stating that you were reviewing the relevant infoormation and would get back to me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Yes that I did ... Ok I will have to do it again as I did not save my response. So you will he aback from me today and I will double check it has worked this time
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
No problem
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, hopefully my response will reach you successfully this time round. First of all it is mot quite right to say that as a self employed worker you are not entitled to mileage. This could still be something which the employer pays you as a work expense. In fact there is no law which states even employees must be paid mileage – the employer has the option of doing so and if they do there are prescribed amounts but it is down to the employer to decide if they are paid.
In your case you have an argument that as these expenses have been paid for you consistently since the start of your employment with them, that they have become a part of your contract. So you could try and say that by withdrawing this benefit after all this time it was paid, the employer has acted in breach of contract. This can be a serious breach because it does relate to your remuneration under contract so this should in tuen allow you to treat the contract as void and no longer enforceable. This would also include the notice period you are due to work under them in case of termination.
Now noone can force you to work through your notice period and if you really did not want to, you are certainly able to do that. What could happen however is that the employer treats this as a breach of contract on your part and sue you for damages. Of course, to be able to sue you they would need to have incurred some losses or damages in the first place. So they must be able to show that your failure to work your notice period has resulted in losses for them. For example, this could be loss of business because they did not have you undertaking the work you w booked to do and they lost out as a result, or it could be costs associated with getting a replacement on short notice to cover you. In any event they would need to show that these losses were reasonable in the first place. As the notice period is only one week I would not expect any potential losses to be large. As mentioned, all of this also depends on whether you could successfully argue that the employer’s actions which led to your departure did amount to a breach of contract in the first place.
Finally, you will only be at risk if the employer decides to take this to court. There is no other way they can force you to pay for their alleged losses. They may be put off from doing so if the value of the claim is relatively low, because of the time and costs involved, etc.
It would be in the best interest of both parties to try and agree on an amicable course of action. You have little to lose by approaching them to start with and saying you are leaving and that you do not wish to work your notice period and ask to be released immediately. They may agree to it, you never know, for example they may not want a disgruntled worker working for them so it would be best to let you go rather than force you to work. So it is worth trying. If they refuse your request, then you can decide whether to take the risk of leaving anyway and hoping that due to the reasons above they do not actually go to court over this.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Finally apologies for the earlier issues in getting the answer to you on time. Thank you
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