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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Particular occupations: demonstrators and merchandisers

Demonstrators and merchandisers are usually engaged to promote or demonstrate a product or services in a store or at a trade fair, or to conduct market research.

They will commonly be supplied by agencies and it is likely that the agency provisions (see ESM2001 onwards) will apply. It may be claimed that such workers are excluded on the grounds that they are not ’subject to, or to the right of, supervision, direction or control as to the manner’ in which they render their services (see ESM2005). Close examination of the instructions issued to the workers by either the agency or the client will often reveal evidence of supervision, etc which is necessary for the agency legislation to apply.

Alternatively, the worker may be required to attend a briefing at which ’directions are given on how the work is to be carried out’. Written or oral instructions might cover, for example, the size of the sample that is to be given to each customer, the words to be used to invite customers to try the product, the questions that should be asked, the equipment that should be used, and so on.

Demonstrating and merchandising work is often undertaken by actors, actresses, or models. When doing so they are not rendering their services as actors, actresses, or models and so neither the exceptions in the agency provisions (see ESM2008) nor the Administrative Practice at EIM03002 apply.