What should I consider when looking for homework?

When you are interviewed for or offered work, you should make a note of any arrangements discussed and terms agreed. Ask for these to be confirmed in writing by the work provider. Try to find out the following details and keep a note of them:

  • the type of work you will be doing;
  • how long the work will last;
  • how much you will be paid for each item completed or for each hour worked;
  • who will be responsible for paying your tax and National Insurance (NI). (If the employer says that this is your responsibility, ask them why and write down what they say. You may need to seek assistance from an advice agency in this situation.);
  • when and how you will be paid;
  • when and how work will be delivered and collected;
  • how to do the work, and what training you will receive, particularly if the work has to be done in a certain way or to a specified standard of quality, how this gets assessed and what happens if the work provider says the standard hasn’t been met;
  • whether you will be provided with all the necessary materials, components, tools and equipment;
  • whether you are entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and paid maternity leave;
  • whether the employer will sign you up to pensions auto-enrolment;
  • whether the supplier of work has insurance that covers you and the materials and equipment; and
  • whether there are any health risks associated with the job and if so, what advice does the company offer on working safely?

It is important to keep a record of these details, because there is currently no law that says your work provider must put them in writing, unless you become an employee or an agency worker.

(This will soon change. The law is being tightened up so that from April 2020, all workers must be given a written statement of the terms and conditions on which they are to work, from the day they start work.) 

As soon as you start work, make sure you keep a record of work done, hours taken to complete the work, and the agreed rate for each different job. Keeping a record will help if you ever have a dispute with your employer/supplier of work or with HMRC.

You are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage. If you think you may not be getting this, contact the Acas Helpline. With your consent, they will be able to refer your claim to the National Minimum Wage enforcement team at HMRC. National Minimum Wage inspectors have the power to collect unpaid wages on your behalf and can fine the work provider.

You are entitled to a written payslip by your first pay date, itemised to show your gross and net wages and any deductions. If different parts of your pay are calculated in different ways (for example a basic hourly rate plus commission), the amount and method of calculation for each part must be shown. If your wages depend on the number of hours you work, your payslip must record the number of hours for which you are being paid.

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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