Individual Employment Rights

Many rules, regulations and rights apply only to employees, but a number apply to all workers.

The precise definition of who is an employee and who is a worker differs slightly from one area of legislation to another; but in general an 'employee' is someone who works for an employer under the terms of a contract of employment, whether it is written down, agreed orally or implied by the nature of the relationship. Many casual workers are likely to be employees with short-term contracts.

A 'worker' is any individual person who works for an employer, whether under a contract of employment or not, who provides a personal service e.g. a casual worker, agency worker, or some freelance workers. For the most part, genuinely self-employed people or businesses to whom an employer subcontracts are not defined as workers.

All employees are workers, but not all workers are employees.

Where 'workers' are referred to, remember that it is not just employees that have to be considered in relation to these rules and regulations - anyone who works for an employer that isn't self-employed or employed by someone else is entitled to these rights.

'Individual rights and responsibilities of employees - a guide for employers and employees' is available on-line and as a printed booklet which can be obtained free from the BERR Publications unit.

For all guidance please visit the Employment Guidance pages.