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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Particular aspects: work & hours - customers with mixed employed / self-employed income

It is increasingly common for employers such as supermarkets to employ people for only a few hours a week - typically 8 or 10. Customer’s who are employed for fewer than 16 hours a week may make up the hours to the qualifying level by engaging in other paid activities, for example babysitting or cleaning for neighbours.

To decide whether the customer does genuinely work at least 16 hours a week in total you will need to consider

  • whether the other activities are regular

    • does the customer baby-sit or clean for the neighbour every week, does s/he normally provide the service on the same day and at the same time each week? For example, s/he may baby-sit for the neighbour to attend regular evening classes. If the customer only sits in response to an occasional request, it may be no more than doing a favour for a friend.
  • whether there is some kind of contract for the services provided

    • there is unlikely to be a written document, but there should be a common understanding between the customer and the neighbour of the nature of the service, the amount of time that will be spent on it, and the amount of the remuneration.
  • whether the services are invariably provided for payment

    • for example, is it acknowledged in advance that the baby-sitting will be provided in return for a payment? Or does the customer sit as a favour, with the grateful neighbour subsequently making an unsolicited payment? Is the baby-sitting in fact provided mutually, with both customer and neighbour sitting for each other?
  • whether the hours allegedly spent on the other activity are realistic

    • where cleaning or baby-sitting are regular activities, it should be a relatively easy matter to establish what hours the customer is expected to attend the neighbour’s home each week. Contracts (written or verbal) for cleaning, in particular, will commonly specify the days and the hours of the day during which the cleaner is expected to attend

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)