A government consultation on clearer definitions of employees, workers and the self-employed has been welcomed by the NHF. Political questions are being raised about the “gig economy”, with companies like Uber and Deliveroo claiming their staff are self-employed while the individuals themselves feel like workers or employees, and therefore entitled to holiday pay and national living/minimum wage.
Self-employment is an issue close to barbers’ hearts—NHF research suggests that 57% of barbers and stylists are now self–employed and many of the 400 barbers and hairdressers who responded to a NHF survey in April commented on what they see as unfair competition between shops which bear the additional costs of employing their staff and those with self-employed workers. Over two thirds (69%) felt that current employment definitions are too loose and called for clear rules that small businesses can easily understand.
The NHF advises barbers with chair room renters to have a properly drawn up agreement which sets out exactly how the renting arrangements will work, and to stick to what the agreement says in terms of who is responsible for what. Hilary Hall, NHF chief executive, says: “The government will now consider all responses and then decide on which measures they want to adopt, although there will be no changes until legislation is passed. The consequences for the hair and beauty industry could be far-reaching depending on which factors the government decides are true measures of employment status.”
The consultation put forward other criteria which could potentially be used to decide whether someone is an employee, a worker or self-employed:
- How much financial risk is taken by the individual?
- Is the individual ‘part and parcel’ or ‘an integral part’ of the business?
- Who provides equipment and other facilities?
- What is the reality of the relationship between the business owner and the people working for them?
- How long has the individual worked in a single business in the same role, in other words at what point do they become an employee rather than self-employed or a worker?
- Do they always work on the same business premises?
- Does all their Income come from only one source?
- Do they benefit from collective branding / marketing carried out by the business owners?
- Is any supervision or training included within the role?