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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

NIM35002 - Special Cases: Share fishermen: Historical background

Employed earners

When the NI scheme was introduced in 1948, all share fishermen were treated as employedearners. As employed earners, share fishermen paid Class 1 NICs which entitled them to thefull range of benefits, including Industrial Injuries Benefit (IIB) and UnemploymentBenefit (UB).


From April 1975, share fishermen have been treated as self-employed because theirconditions of service are more like self-employment. However, because share fishermen hadpreviously been treated as employed earners, with entitlement to IIB and UB, they areallowed to pay a special higher rate of Class 2 NIC to retain entitlement to thosebenefits. This concession also recognises the arduous and hazardous nature of theiroccupation.

Requirement to pay for IIB cover removed

Section 16 of the Social Security Act 1990 allows the costs of IIB to be met from theConsolidated Fund rather than the NI fund. Because of this legislative change, it wasdecided that:

  • from 6 April 1991, the special Class 2 NIC would no longer include an additional amount for IIB cover but because of the unique nature of their employment, share fishermen would still retain their entitlement to IIB; and
  • share fishermen would be invited to claim a refund of that part of the special Class 2 NIC paid for IIB cover between 6 April 1975 and 5 April 1991, in October 1991.

Share fishermen were identified by NIRS and Refunds Group in the former CA invitedcontributors to claim a refund.