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Re: URGENT HELP - Are UpWork freelancers an employee or a contractor according to UK employment law?

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Ryan N Member Since: Aug 10, 2018
11 of 14

The thing is most businesses that use sites like UpWork are small businesses who don't have access to legal expertise. As far as I know, the common knowledge or assumption is that the relationship is with UpWork and "they" are all contractors or freelancers.

 

@ Petra thank you. 

 

Although I am happy with the answer you both gave, I am disappointed with the setup that UpWork have done on this because it puts you as a business in a legal vague area. Given that UpWork is a multi-billion dollar company it I don't think it would be different for them to have T&C's for major markets like the UK, Germany and France. These are huge markets, and putting T&C's for such big markets won't affect them financially at all. 

 

But what do I know, I run a tiny business. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
12 of 14

@Ryan N wrote:

The thing is most businesses that use sites like UpWork are small businesses who don't have access to legal expertise. As far as I know, the common knowledge or assumption is that the relationship is with UpWork and "they" are all contractors or freelancers.

 

Attention, as a client your relationship is with the freelancer, not with Upwork. Upwork is a facilitator providing billing services to the freelancers. So if you hire a freelancer on Upwork, you enter into a business relationship with this person. The question is, at which point this relationship can be considered as a client/contractor agreement and at which point it should be considered as an employment.

 

Rules in this matter vary from one country to another and despite the fact that Upwork is a global platform, I don't think that deciding about this, or providing any legal advice in this field would fall under their prerogatives. 

 

This is typically what a tax advisor, a CPA or equivalent with a knowledge of local labor laws should be able to tell.

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Ace Contributor
Filip S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
13 of 14

Upwork isn't an employment agency, so they don't come into the picture.

All contracts on upwork fall under freelancer/contractor where there's a set goal/deliverable, but what you're looking for falls under employment. Generally, if you place demands on a persons time i.e. shifts, work days and set number of hours that falls under employment in most countries. Can you do this on upwork, yes, but you'll be in a gray area legally speaking. You most likely wont have any problem as long as the freelancers you hire are not in the UK, but like the others said, you need to talk to a lawyer and an accountant.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
14 of 14

Ryan,

 

I can't see where Upwork falls short on this. Freelancers in UK are, in effect, sole traders. They are responsible for their own tax declarations and are not your employees in any sense of the term - i.e. full-time or part-time. You are not responsible for their healthcare, pension, holidays etc. But you do have to keep records such as invoices. 

 

If you hire someone on Upwork who is from Thailand,for example, you would show this to your accountant or on your tax returns with the relevant invoice, which you can download once the job is complete and paid for. 

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