When do freelance instructors need their own public liability insurance?
A member asks:-
“I had a request for information on instructor insurance yesterday, which had me scratching my head. It seems that a few local authorities are now requiring any freelancers who work for them to carry their own insurance, specifically covering all activities they may be employed to deliver. I don’t know what is driving this policy, but it strikes me that this could be placing a significant financial burden on freelancers, many of whom are paid minimum wage for their work.
Are you aware of any related legalities? For example, could it be related to the fact that the freelancers are self employed?”
“We’d say that from our standpoint, what it comes down to is: whose programme is the freelance instructor delivering in terms of its content and delivery?
If, for example, it’s the centre’s or provider’s programme, the freelance instructor would be acting as a “labour only” subcontractor and the centre would be liable for the standard of delivery and the content of the activity. The centre is vicariously liable for the actions of its self employed instructors delivering its programmes, whether or not the freelance instructors have their own personal public liability insurance.
If, however, the instructor is delivering his or her own programme outside the control of the centre or provider, it may be an activity that they don’t deliver – let’s say pony trekking – it’s the freelance instructor’s programme and he or she would be regarded as a “bona fide” subcontractor (BFSC). If, for example, the booking had been made through the centre, it would be recognised that the self employed or freelance instructor is responsible and liable for the content and delivery of the activity and the centre’s responsibility would be to ensure that the BFSC is competent and has his own public liability insurance.
Responsibility and liability aspects are entirely separate from any tax standpoint. Further information is available on line from HSE guides and “insurance expert’s” blogs”.