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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Agency and temporary workers: agency legislation - provisions from 6 April 2014: supervision, direction or control example - operative at recycling plant

Part 2, Chapter 7 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, Part 2, Chapter 7, section 44(2)(a)

Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations 1978, Schedule 1, Part 1, paragraph 2

Operative at recycling plant

Lukasz has experience in working on production lines at various factories and has registered with an employment business which brings him regular work. The employment business contact Lukasz to tell him a recycling plant has provided them details of an eight-month engagement for an operative to work at the recycling plant, which will entail sorting out household recyclables being delivered on site. Lukasz is keen to take the job and is provided with the contact details for Martin, (the plant’s Production Manager), whom Lukasz phones. They discuss the vacancy and agree that Lukasz will take the engagement. Martin tells Lukasz to report to him at nine am the following Monday.

Lukasz turns up for work as arranged and meets Martin, who is responsible for overseeing all of the work undertaken by all staff at the recycling plant. Lukasz is told he will mainly be working alongside a moving conveyor belt, where he will be picking out various recyclables and placing them in chutes which transport the items into separate skips for cardboard, glass bottles, hard plastics, metal tins, and paper. Lukasz is also told he will also be required to do other work as directed. Lukasz is then given protective clothing, eyewear, and gloves, after which Martin gives Lukasz a Health and Safety briefing and then demonstrates how the conveyor belt work is undertaken. Lukasz is then told to take his place alongside the conveyor belt, where he then works for the first three months during which time Martin periodically checks on his progress, making sure Lukasz is working to speed and placing the items in the correct chutes. Martin also gives Lukasz other ad-hoc duties, such as helping colleagues sort out those recyclables on the floor area which are too large to fit on the conveyor belt.

From the third month onwards, Lukasz’s work on the conveyor belt diminishes as he is given other duties instead. At the start of month five, being suitably qualified, Lukasz is tasked with driving a fork-lift truck to transport bailed waste around the site and help to arrange the skip removals and deliveries. This particular work takes up all of his time in the remaining months of his arrangement.

By month six, Martin no longer feels the need to control how Lukasz does his work, nor does Martin feel there is any need to direct or supervise Lukasz in his work. The reason for this being that Lukasz is now sufficiently skilled to know how the work should be done himself without anyone’s intervention. Lukasz is therefore left to get on with his work as he sees fit for the remaining three months of his engagement.

At the very outset of Lukasz’s engagement, Martin (the production manager) controlled what work Lukasz did and how that work was to be done. Lukasz could not decide how he would do the work himself as it had to be done in a particular way, as dictated and demonstrated by Martin. This situation continued right up to month six, after which Lukasz’s duties had changed and Martin no longer considered Lukasz required any supervision or direction or control as to how he must do that work.

However, whilst Martin only subjected Lukasz to supervision, direction, and control for the first five months of his engagement, nevertheless by having overall responsibility for all work done on site, Martin still held the ‘right’ to supervise, direct, or control the manner in which Lukasz provided his services throughout his entire engagement (that is, he could have moved Lukasz onto other tasks as required). This condition of the agency legislation is therefore met and will have applied to the entire duration of Lukasz’s engagement.