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Can I pay our nurse as a self-employed person?

Jenny Stone advises a practice on the rules around employing staff and the difference between employees and locums/contractors.

Q. We are in the process of employing a part-time nurse who has been previously working as a locum. However she stated she would like to be paid gross as a self employed person rather than net of tax, National Insurance or superannuation. Please advise whether it can be done and the implication on entitlements such as annual leave/study leave/sick leave?

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they are correctly employing people who work for them. If you are going to employ the nurse and she is going to be continuously working for your practice doing the same hours each week then she is an employee and should be put in the payroll with tax, NI and pension deducted.

Unfortunately she cannot choose to be self employed because this is her preferred option. For someone to be self-employed, they would not be working regular hours, they could pick and choose what hours they worked, when they worked and there should be no obligation for you to offer her work or for her to accept.

If you paid her as self-employed and HMRC carried out a PAYE investigation and all the conditions point to her really being an employee of the practice, you would be liable for the tax and NI that should have been deducted from the nurse.

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