THE distinction between being employed and self-employed is out of businesses’ hands and the penalties for getting it wrong are huge, the equestrian industry has been reminded.
The message came as part of a wider discussion on how businesses, employers and the workforce can best protect themselves and thrive in the current climate at the inaugural Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) Conference (25 February).
“This isn’t a question you and the groom decide between you,” said barrister Victoria von Wachter, who specialises in equestrian and employment law among other areas.
“It is a question of fact and law that a court will decide [should it get to that stage]. That isn’t a court you want to be going into.”
She explained the test as to what someone’s employment status is can be summed up by saying an employed person is “told what to do, how, where and when to do it”, adding the repercussions of getting it wrong can be extremely costly.
“Even though you and your so-called self-employed groom are happy with the situation, the [Inland] Revenue may not be.”
“I think the equestrian industry at the moment is the focus of these government bodies so beware.”
She added there are, of course, genuinely self-employed people within the industry, whose working patterns fit the status requirements, but warned employers not to see recording an employee as self-employed as an easy alternative.
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March 12, 2020