Grooms and employers are breaking the law, survey shows

The “disturbing” and illegal practice of false self-employment is still occurring in the equestrian industry, a survey has indicated.

The study, conducted by the British Grooms Association (BGA) last year, revealed that almost a fifth of respondents are told they are self-employed when this is not the case, which is breaking the law.

“This survey indicates that there is still a disturbing practice occurring in the equestrian industry, whereby employers are telling some employed grooms that they are self-employed, which is an illegal practice and tax evasion,” said BGA executive director Lucy Katan.

“Furthermore, grooms are also being denied their employment rights and benefits of being self-employed. In short, those who have been told that they are self-employed when they are not are suffering a double disadvantage.

“We would invite anyone who has been incorrectly told that they are self-employed to get in contact for advice.”

UK law states that someone is self-employed if he or she “runs their business for themselves and take responsibility for its success or failure”.

Those who are truly self-employed must be able to make decisions about their work, such as how much they charge and the hours they work.

False self-employment is illegal on employers’ part, as they are not making their contribution, but also for that of the grooms, who will pay lower tax rates than they should if they are registered as self-employed.

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The survey, open only to freelancers, was aimed at investigating their everyday practices, “giving the opportunity to compare their working practices, earnings and common challenges”.

Anyone affected by these issues can contact the British Grooms Association

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