Status disputes – Tribunal decision
A recent employment tribunal case concerned an individual who acted as a self-employed part time rugby coach.
The individual supplied his services under the control of the rugby club, for which he was paid a fixed monthly sum, provided with a company car and credit card.
At the outset of the arrangement, the rugby club allowed the individual to determine whether he wanted to be an employee under PAYE or a “self employed” coach. He chose the latter option, and operated through his own service company.
When the arrangement was terminated, the individual sought to argue he was not an independent contractor but, rather, an employee and, therefore, entitled to employment law rights.
The appeal tribunal upheld the initial decision of the employment tribunal. This was that the individual had voluntarily chosen to act as a contractor and that he was aware of the implications of that decision. Despite the relationship being one reflecting many individual factors which pointed to the existence of an employment relationship, the individual’s own choice of status reflected the truth of that relationship and he was, therefore, a self employed contractor.
The decision may provide useful ammunition in the context of categorisation disputes under IR35.