‘Can self-employed members attend in-work training and clinical supervision?’

Your employment status is important, as it affects the legal rights, responsibilities and entitlements of you and others in your workplace

Jim Fahie
Jim Fahie, CSP assistant director of employment relations and union support

Many CSP members work on a self-employed basis, one of three legally distinct employment statuses. 

To be genuinely self-employed, you should be running your own business, marketing your services as a physiotherapist on an arms-length basis to your own customers and clients.

Like all physiotherapy staff, self-employed members will attend courses and undertake continuing professional development (CPD) all the time – indeed as professionals, the CSP expects you to do so. 

There are no legal reasons why a workplace should not offer in-work CPD to self-employed individuals working on site. This could be provided free or at a cost to these individuals.

Clinical supervision can also be offered to self-employed individuals in the workplace without affecting their employment status.  

Here, clinical supervision is a voluntary arrangement, with ground rules agreed upfront between the parties involved. The sessions could provide a support system for practitioners to ensure the provision of high-quality treatment and services through evaluation of practice.  

However, where individuals are self-employed they should not be compelled to attend any CPD or supervision that is offered.

Whereas if they were employed, attendance could be seen as a reasonable management request with refusal leading to some form of action being taken against them.

Bogus self-employment 

‘Compulsory’ workplace training or supervision could be an indicator of ‘sham’ or ‘bogus’ self-employment.

All members should be aware of these bogus ‘self-employment’ arrangements, designed to force you to lose out on key worker rights such as rest breaks and statutory limits on working time.

If you are working regularly for an organisation, providing your services to their clients, there is a good chance that legally you are a ‘worker’, even if the written agreement you have signed describes you as ‘self-employed’. This means you have rights, for example, to holiday pay and protection from discrimination. 

Jim Fahie is CSP assistant director of employment relations and union support

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