What employment rights do freelancers have?

If you are bona fide self-employed, unfortunately you are not entitled to the basic employment rights that all employees enjoy. These include sick pay, annual leave, maternity leave, minimum pay, working time rights, the right to join a union, health and safety protection and protection from discrimination. You are also not covered by workplace pension schemes which include a pension contribution from an employer, and will need to make your own pension arrangements.

However, some unscrupulous employers deliberately miscategorise workers as ‘self-employed’. This is to avoid granting them the basic employment rights they are due as workers or employees (see definitions of workers, employees and the self-employed). If you believe you are falsely self-employed, you may be able to challenge your employer through an employment tribunal, although this has been made extremely difficult.