Basic Rights

Most performers and creatives in the entertainment industry are self employed for tax and national insurance purposes. However, much of the work which many dancers in the subsidised sector undertake makes them ‘workers’ under employment law.

Am I a worker?

If there is a contractual obligation for you to undertake work personally, you are defined under law as a worker.

You can test your worker status by thinking about these questions:

  1. Could you provide a substitute to do the work?
  2. Can you control how and when the work is done?
  3. Does the job involve you taking on a financial or business risk?
  4. Are you responsible for your own expenses?

If your answer is ‘no’ to at least three of these questions, you are most likely to be a worker and therefore you are entitled to a number of benefits under law, including:

The National Minimum Wage – currently £7.38 for those aged 21-24, and £7.83 for those aged 25 and over

Holiday Pay – this should be 12.07% of your overall fee.

Equal Pay – between men and women doing comparable work.

Defined Working Hours – you should not work more than 48 hours in a week, although it can be averaged out over a 17 week period or the length of your contract if it is shorter than 17 weeks. Your employer can ask you to opt out of the regulations, but it has to be voluntary.

Rest Breaks – you are entitled to:

–          20 minutes rest after every six hours worked

–          11 hours rest every 24 hours

–          48 hours rest every fourteen days

Protection from Unlawful Discrimination

The Right to be Accompanied at a Disciplinary Hearing


If you are a worker and your above rights are not being honoured, Equity can help through advice, negotiation and even in the courts.

This area of employment law is complicated and this page can only serve as an outline of the issue. Equity will always advise and assist members confidentially on any of the above matters. If you believe you are entitled to any of the above rights, but they are not being honoured, please get in touch with us.