Doctor hired through her company still classed as a 'worker'

A doctor who provided services through her own company has been classed as a “worker” for employment law purposes, giving her various rights and protections.

Reshma Narayan was registered with Community Based Care Health Ltd as a "duty doctor" and worked regular shifts on a 12-week rota at a single NHS medical practice. She was not obliged to accept work and Community was not obliged to provide any.

She took holidays when she pleased and did locum work through an agency. From October 2015, she received income from both roles through a limited company. She did not inform Community of its existence, although she supplied the company's bank account details for payment purposes.

In February 2017, issues arose which resulted in Community ceasing to offer her work. She made various claims including unfair dismissal and unpaid holiday pay.

The judge noted the main features of her role, including that she had worked consistent shifts for Community Based Care for around 12 years but there was no mutuality of obligation; she did not need permission to perform work outside Community’s activities; she provided her own medical equipment and professional indemnity insurance; and she was required to work personally and could not send a substitute of her choice.

The judge ruled that she was a worker, not an employee or self-employed individual, and that, after October 2015, Community had continued to contract with her personally, even though she received payment through her company.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld that decision.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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