People work in parishes in many different ways: as volunteers, contractors, employees or in a self-employed capacity. Parishes should be cautious about assuming that someone is self employed: should HMRC determine that the worker is an employee rather than a self-employed contractor, then they could pursue the employer for any shortfall in payments to them whether this be the difference between what has actually been paid by the worker and what would be due had they been an employee, or in the case of the worker defaulting on payment altogether, the entire dues.
There is no set format or single factor that HMRC use to determine if someone is genuinely self-employed. They do however use similar indicators to those used by Employment Tribunals to determine whether someone is self-employed or an employee. A number of factors are likely to be taken into account such as whether the individual concerned undertakes work on a regular basis, provides their own equipment, determine their own pattern of work etc.
A useful guide is available on the Parish Resources Website.
Information is also available on the HMRC website.
The Diocesan Registrar has commented that organists are a completely borderline matter, depending on the particular arrangements in any parish. The best advice is to get the organist onto a contract so that there is clarity as to the agreed position. If it is to be a selfemployed relationship, the Incorporated Society of Musicians has a template contract which you can download.
Recruiting and employing staff
Guidance on recruiting and employing staff, including template job descriptions, application forms, written statements of employment and job offer letters is available on the ACAS website via the following links:
The Diocese retains an HR advisor who may be able to help with queries from parishes. For further information please contact the Diocesan Secretary.