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Employees, Volunteers and Control

Who is ’employed’ and when are they working for you? These questions can be vital for understanding your responsibilities to employees and volunteers; they also help to determine the cover provided by certain insurances.

Why does this matter?

Insurance policies may typically cover:

  • Injury to people you employ and loss or damage to their property whilst in the course of their employment with you.
  • Injury which your ‘employees’ cause to others, and damage that they cause to the property of others whilst in the course of their employment with you.

So, it matters to insurers, and it is important to you, that you agree who the insurance policy will consider to be an ‘employee’ and in what circumstances they can be deemed to be working for you (rather than, for example, as independent individuals).

This is relevant to all policies which cover your liability for injury (even policies insuring employee benefits which you provide for injury) and your liability to third parties for damage to them. So think about:

  • Employers Liability
  • Group Personal Accident & Travel
  • Property insurances such as Money and Fidelity
  • Public Liability
  • Professional Indemnity

You are required by law to have Employers Liability insurance – you should seek legal advice if you believe you may be exempt from this requirement. Be aware that the requirements of the Act extend well beyond traditionally-contracted employees. Talk to your legal or insurance advisers if you are in any doubt.

Who might be an ‘employee’?

This may be anybody who works for you, or who purports to work on your behalf, and extends well beyond your traditionally-contracted employees. They may typically include (for the purposes of insurance):

  • Any person under a Contract of Service or apprenticeship with you; any person hired to, seconded to or borrowed by you; and any person supplied to you under a contract or agreement deeming them to be in your employment
  • Any voluntary worker or temporary worker, and any person undertaking study or work experience with you
  • Any self-employed person while working under your control and in connection with your organisation.

Who is working for you under your control?

For many of your permanent contracted staff, it will be straight-forward to understand when an individual is working under your control. Likewise, it will be quite straightforward to see (from documentation) who comes to you under contracts or agreements which deem them to be your employees for the duration of their time with you.

Things get a little more confused when an individual has multiple employers, or is self-employed whilst carrying out work for you, or is volunteering. Not to mention someone involved in fund-raising on your behalf (for example) away from your premises, and perhaps in their own time.

One test you might consider is: do you have control over where they work, or when they work? If so, they may be regarded as being under your control.

You should seek legal advice if you are unsure, and you should also discuss concerns with insurance advisers.

Risk Management

  • Don’t assume anything!
  • If someone is a full time salaried employee, with no other work commitments, then you are responsible for them and for what they do for you – whilst at work and whilst elsewhere working for you.
  • If they aren’t, then think about where your responsibility begins and ends. And make that clear to them too.
  • It may not matter whether you pay them directly or through another party (in fact it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you pay them at all) – you may still be responsible for them.
  • Independent contractors can still be your responsibility, but may have their own insurances also. Check them, and agree on who is responsible for what.
Is something wrong, missing or needs updating? Let us know.

Except where otherwise noted, CaSE Insurance licenses the content in the Risk & Insurance Library under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence. All content in the Risk & Insurance Library is intended purely as introductory information on the subject matter, and does not provide you with information on risk management or insurance or advice (whether legal or financial) on which you should rely. You should always seek professional advice specific to your requirements.