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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Guide to determining status: control over what the worker does

One element of control is the right to control what the worker does.

In some cases the worker will clearly be subject to control over what he or she does; the employer, or his manager or foreman, will constantly give instructions on what to do. In others, the worker will choose what to do for him or herself.

For example, if a worker is taken on by a builder for general painting jobs on site and the worker can be moved from job to job as priorities change there is a right of control over what is to be done. This would be a pointer in determining the overall degree of control being exercised over the worker.

On the other hand if the worker contracts to complete a specific task and cannot be moved to another job, there is no control over what is done.

In Stagecraft Limited v Minister of National Insurance (SC288/52) the ability of theatrical producers to direct a variety comedian to play parts as required in any of the company’s productions was an important factor in the decision that he worked under a contract of employment.

See example ESM0521