Do you think employment law is nothing to do with you?
You might find yourself having an uncomfortable session with the tax man.
- You can be liable for tax and national insurance for self-employed workers
- You don’t automatically own the copyright in designs produced by sub contractors
- You can be liable for injury to contractors as well as staff
- Workers have discrimination and other statutory rights even if they are self-employed
- ………… and there is more
Entrepreneurs tend to start with very informal business structures and then things grow over time. It is easy to imagine that having good relationships with the people around you means you won’t run into trouble.
Sometimes that works, but other times it is a disaster – when the relationship breaks down there is nothing to protect you from harm. It’s heartbreaking when we hear from people who say “I trusted them” and there is no agreement to set out who is doing what. Even large business can have blind spots when it comes to freelance workers.
We have come across businesses who did not own their own website or designs in their own work. We have worked with others who spend months tolerating behaviours they could have put a stop to right away. We know of others hit with tax bills going years back because they couldn’t meet the current IR35 test and owe tax to the revenue (talk to your accountant about this)
We are not trying to frighten you, but it is a good idea to get real at an early stage.
If you want to think about this in terms of your own business, check our regular free teleseminars on managing freelance workers. http://koffeeklatch.co.uk/category/events/
If you are using freelance workers and have no agreements in place check out our agreements and guidance. Designed using more than 30 years of experience in what can and does go wrong – save yourself the experience and set it up right! http://koffeeklatch.co.uk/category/contracts/.
Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye