IPSE, the freelancer group, says the government should create a statutory definition of self-employment. This would end confusion over who is and is not self-employed.

Currently, the law defines an employee and a worker, but has no definition for the self-employed. IPSE made its call when it was asked to give evidence to Matthew Taylor’s investigation into modern employment practices.

IPSE has ideas on what the definition should be, outlining four key criteria. Having autonomy over work is important. This means having the ability to send a substitute to do the work and for there to be no work outside that agreed. Having control over work arrangements is also important. This means being able to decide how to complete a task, and when and where work will be done. Taking on business risk, which means taking responsibility for tax and finances. Finally, having a level of independence from clients, which would include things like using their own equipment for the work.

IPSE thinks that the Taylor review should also look at how the uptake of savings and pensions for the self-employed could be encouraged, as well as developing childcare support, paternity, and maternity rights for the self-employed. Training and skills development for the self-employed should also be encouraged.

Simon McVicker of IPSE said, “To be an employee is defined in statute, as is being a worker. But somehow to be self-employed is the default of everything else. This is a rather negative position and it creates confusion as it lacks clarity”