Interpreting Employment Contracts: Judges, Employers, Workers

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This paper reports findings from a survey designed to estimate the numbers excluded from employment protection in the UK by the ‘employee’ test and to examine, through qualitative research, perceptions of the process of employment contracting. The survey evidence shows that approaching one third of the labour force does not fit neatly into the categories of ‘employee’ and ‘self-employed’. The case studies suggest that there is a considerable disjunction between the assumptions of choice, control and risk which underlie the legal tests, and the perception of these issues by workers whose employment status is most in doubt.

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