Guidance on sub-contractor terminology

The word sub-contractor is often used inter-changeably for both labour only sub-contractors and bona fide sub-contractors however it is important you understand the difference between these two types of sub-contractor as your legal responsibilities are very different.

Labour only sub-contractors

Labour only sub-contractors are usually contractors who;

  1. Do not have flexibility to complete their work e.g. they take instruction from you
  2. Are covered under your insurance
  3. Are usually supplied with equipment and tools but not always
  4. Are paid by the hour, day or week
  5. Are not obligated to correct problems. Problems with work are corrected by you e.g. financially
  6. Work under your method statement and risk assessments and must comply with your health and safety policies and procedures. They do not have their own.

    Labour only sub-contractors are considered to be effective employees.

Bona-fide sub-contractors

Bona-fide sub-contractors are usually contractors who;

  1. Within an overall deadline, can decide what work to do and how to do the work
  2. Hold their own insurance
  3. Provide their own materials and tools
  4. Tend to quote for a job and invoice it, either on completion or in stages
  5. Are obligated to correct problems with any work without billing you
  6. Produce and work under their own risk assessments, method statements and H&S Policies.

    Bona-fide subcontractors are not employees.