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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 62542
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been working for the same company for 10 years as a

Customer Question

Hi - I have been working for the same company for 10 years as a self employed HR consultant. We have just got a new director and I think that they want to finish me up because they think I am not fast enough - I am contracted for 1.5 days a week but in practice do much more than that, and I am currently waiting for heart surgery. I do not feel that this affects me in any way and I have told them so, but today I got an email from the new Director saying that she needs things done quickly and feels that my impending heart operation may mean that I am being pressured and not quick enough and she wants a chat later on today. Do I have any rights at all? I work in their office one and a half days a week, and the rest of the time at home, and have never had a problem before. I have worked over and above for them on many occasions. I use their company email for all my correspondence to and for them.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I am the HR person and no, haven't spoken to a lawyer
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am self employed HR consultant. Not in a union
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not really I don't think
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Have they previously raised any issues with regards ***** ***** speed of your work and meeting deadlines etc?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
never - I have always been given praise for the quality of my work. This new Director is very different from the last two Directors and has a reputation which is not good. At their last place of work (where they were only there for six months) they got rid of seven staff out of a staff of 9 within the first three months. I am concerned because I have always been self employed for them, but I do ALL of their HR stuff, write all of their policies, do all of their recruitment, present at Board Meetings, interview all job candidates (I interviewed her!) and have had excellent feedback thus far
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. If you are a self employed worker then unfortunately you will have limited rights when compared to an employee. Most importantly you will not be protected against unfair dismissal and it means you could be dismissed for more or less any reason and at any time. The main issue then is whether you receive the required notice period for that to happen.

Under law, only employees are entitled to receive a specified minimum notice period in the event that their employment is terminated. The self-employed/contractors do not have the legal right to minimum notice periods on termination.

Whether a contractor is entitled to a notice period will depend on their written contract. If there is a termination clause which specifies a notice period on termination, the employer would be expected to give that notice if they wish to end the employment relationship. The contract may also specify situations when notice may not be due, such as if the contractor has acted in breach of contract or is guilty of gross misconduct.

It may actually be the case that no written contract exists, or there is no termination notice clause in it. In such circumstances, the contractor can still expect a 'reasonable' notice period to have their working arrangement terminated. This is because even in the absence of a written contract they will be working under an implied common law contract and to terminate such a contract a reasonable notice period is required.

What is a reasonable notice period will vary greatly and will depend on the individual circumstances, industry practices, length of employment, frequency of payment, etc. A useful starting point would be to look at the usual invoicing and payment cycle, which may provide the length of the notice period that could be reasonable (e.g. invoicing for work on a monthly basis can potentially require a month’s notice to terminate).

In reality, there are far too many variables to consider, which means it is usually impossible to give a precise indication as to what would be a reasonable notice period in each case. It is therefore down to the courts to make that decision. The contractor can nevertheless raise this issue with the employer and attempt to negotiate a reasonable notice period with them, a period that they will both be happy to accept.

Does this answer your query?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

My response to your query should be visible on this page. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question or whether you need me to clarify anything else in relation to it? If your query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to confirm this by replying on here. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? I have not heard back from you since posting my answer and just need to know if your query has been resolved. If you could please post a quick reply to confirm I would be very grateful. Thank you