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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Considering the evidence: contracts

When deciding what the employment status would have been in a direct engagement, it is necessary to take into account all of the relevant features of the relationship, including all contracts in the chain between the worker and the client.

For example, if a service company supplies the worker’s services to the client through an agency there may be agreements between:

  • the worker and the service company (this relationship will often be very informal with nothing in writing)
  • the service company and the agency, and
  • the agency and the client.

In many cases what the employment status would be might be obvious from consideration of one of the contracts. However, it may be necessary to consider all the contracts under which the worker’s services are provided to the client.

What you are seeking to establish is the terms and conditions under which the worker’s services are supplied in the light of the principles that have been established by the courts as relevant for determining employment status.