Employment status

7. Office holder

A person who’s been appointed to a position by a company or organisation but doesn’t have a contract or receive regular payment may be an office holder. This includes:

  • statutory appointments, such as registered company directors or secretaries, board members of statutory bodies, or crown appointments
  • appointments under the internal constitution of an organisation, such as club treasurers or trade union secretaries
  • appointments under a trust deed, such as trustees
  • ecclesiastical appointment, such as members of the clergy

Office holders are neither employees nor workers. However, it’s possible for someone to be an office holder and an employee if they have an employment contract with the same company or organisation that meets the criteria for employees.

Working out employment status for an office holder

Someone is likely to be an office holder if most of these statements apply to them:

  • there is no contract or service agreement relating to their appointment
  • their duties are minimal, and are only those required under the relevant statute, constitution or trust deed
  • they don’t get a salary or any other form of regular payment for their services
  • the only payment they get is a voluntary payment (honorarium), regardless of the work they do - tax and National Insurance are deducted by the appointing body
  • they’re effectively working as an independent office, and are not under the close supervision or control of the appointing body