False Self-Employment

False self-employment is in the news a lot nowadays, especially with the rise of the so-called ‘gig economy’. Trade unions are at the forefront of exposing false self-employment and the exploitation it creates. 

If you are concerned about your working conditions, the best step you can take is to join a union and persuade your workmates to do the same.

If enough of them become union members, the union will be able to apply for formal recognition, which will mean that your employer has to negotiate future terms and conditions with the union, through a process known as collective bargaining.

If you are not yet a union member, browse our Union Finder tool, to find the union most suited to your needs.


TaxAid is a charity that helps people on low incomes with their tax affairs. It runs a public helpline: 0345 120 3779.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group is a charitable initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. It does not run a helpline, but it provides tax guides and advice on where those on low incomes can get help with their tax affairs.

Tax Help for Older People helps people over 60 with an income of less than £20,000. It does not help the self-employed. It runs a public helpline on 0845 601 3321.

The Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) operates a licensing and regulation system for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and associated packaging and processing. It also has the power to investigate labour abuse allegations across the entire UK labour market, instead of being limited to defined sectors. False self-employment is a strong indicator of labour abuse.

Confidential reports can be made via the GLAA website.

Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700. A confidential report of suspected modern slavery can be made by phone or online. The website also lists agencies and other sources of support for the victims of modern slavery.  

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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