What are your responsibilities for peripatetic workers?

Peripatetic workers are those with no fixed work base, a concept that is becoming increasingly common in today’s society. Often known as mobile or transient workers, these are employees that could, for example, be involved in care work, be a teacher travelling from school to school, or a sales rep.

They are defined as someone who works away from their normal work base either for part or all of their work, working in multiple locations.

What are your responsibilities as an employer?

If you employ peripatetic workers there are several areas you need to consider:

Employee, Worker or Self-Employed?

The status of the person, whether you employ them, they are contracted or are working for themselves, will determine their employment rights and terms and conditions that you may have to fulfill.

  • If they are an employee they will have a contract with agreed pay, annual leave and working hours, and will carry out work solely for you as their employer.
  • A worker will also work to the terms of a contract (see Employing Agency Workers for more information) but they may have a limited right to send someone else to carry out the work.
  • Self-employed people have no contract of employment, but are more likely to have a contract to provide a service. They run their own business and take responsibility.

Health and Safety

As Acas states, a health and safety risk assessment for these workers should be undertaken, taking into account the fact that they will be working away from the normal work base, or will have no base, and also what type of work will be carried out.

You may need to consider issues such as workers working alone, late, in the evening or at night; the possibility of violence towards them, and safe use of tools, equipment or harmful substances.

Working Time

There may be many queries from your workers or employees relating to what counts as working time. This is the time where your employer is working for you, including training and travel if it forms part of their duties. Time ‘on-call’ must also be stated, which is classed as working time in certain circumstances. For example, time spent travelling from home to the first and last customer can count as working time, whereas routine travel between home and work is not classed as working time. Similarly, employees need to be made aware of when they won’t be paid, for example, when they are away from work on rest break when no work is carried out, and holiday and sick leave.

If you have questions about peripatetic workers, and issues surrounding their employment, please contact me for advice and guidance


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