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The Sarah Buxton blog


Newsflash: the importance of locums when considering self-employed status

Now more than ever, you need to treat your self-employed associates as exactly that: self-employed individuals.

The starting point is to have a clear written agreement in place containing as many self-employed indicators as possible – however, the reality of the situation is just as important. The key is to make sure you are abiding by the written terms of the contract.

If you provide a written agreement but have no intention of following those terms, a court may simply view it as a sham agreement and give a finding of employee or worker status.

One of the key indicators of self-employed status is the individual’s ability to substitute themselves, therefore removing an element of personal service. In a recent Employment Tribunal claim, FTA Law successfully argued that an associate dentist was self-employed and one of the key issues discussed was the locum provision.

The associate sought to argue that because they had never been asked to put a locum in place during their absence, as they did not have the right. It was decided that whether they chose to exercise that right was irrelevant to the facts - they had the right to substitute themselves but chose not to do so.

It is important that clauses are carefully drafted to strike a balance between maintaining the self-employed status of the individual, and practice owners being able to run and protect their business.

We can help with all aspects of preparing and advising associate agreements. Contact us for more information.

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