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One of the most common queries we receive is from grooms who are confused about their employment status and have been told that they are self-employed. 

This is known as 'false self-employment'.

We help our members to understand their employment status. You can belong to the BGA and get support too.



Check your employment status?

My boss has told me that I am self-employed - is this ok?

No, you can’t be told that you are self-employed. 

Having the wrong employment status is illegal and can get both you and your boss into trouble.

Find out more and read the full answer




I only work for one person; can I still be self-employed?

It is rare that you work for one person and will be self-employed.

Many factors determine this, but even if you do work for one person on flexible hours you are most likely a worker.

Having the wrong employment status can have a big impact on you and your boss, so it is important to correct it.  

Find out more and read the full answer




I do my own accounts and tax and National Insurance, surely that means I am self-employed?


Paying your own tax and National Insurance does not automatically make you self-employed.

Being self-employed is made up of many contributing factors and is not just based on who pays your tax and National Insurance.

Discover the other factors here




Why does it matter?

Having the incorrect employment status is illegal and leaves both you and your boss exposed to getting a fine.

Being employed gives you many more employment rights such as access to statutory sick pay, maternity cover, pensions and more.

The wrong employment status also has huge insurance implications. If you are a true freelancer then you need to have a Freelancer’s Liability Insurance policy. If you are employed then your boss needs to have Employer’s Liability Insurance.

It is not uncommon for employers to tell grooms that they are self-employed so they avoid paying their employee’s tax, National Insurance contributions, SSP, don’t need to give any job security, or purchase Employers Liability Insurance. This is illegal and morally wrong.

Find out more and read the full answer



How do I approach this with my boss?

Having a tricky conversation with your boss can be daunting, but it is an important one.

Find out more about how to have a tricky conversation. 




I have been told I need to get liability insurance but I think I’m an employee.

If you are an employee then you do not need liability insurance.

Your employer needs to have Employer’s Liability Insurance, which is a legal requirement.

If you are being told that you must have liability insurance it is likely to be a case of false self-employment. 

Find out more and read the full answer









What the personal accident policy covers you for:

  • Whilst at work
  • All stable duties – mucking out, grooming, washing off, turning out
  • Clipping
  • Riding – including hacking and jumping
  • Hunting
  • Lunging
  • Breaking in
  • Holding horse for a vet and other procedures
  • Travelling horses both in the UK and abroad
  • Competing in line with your job including: jumping, dressage, eventing
  • Injuries that may happen to you whilst you are teaching - but you must also be grooming as part of your duties and not be a sole instructor

What the personal accident policy doesn’t cover you for:

  • Riding in a race, point to point or team chase
  • Stunt Riding
  • Accidents occurring whilst travelling to and from work
  • Riding and competing your own horse (but you can upgrade when applying for membership to include this)
  • Public Liability – this is a separate insurance policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance
  • Care Custody and Control – this is a separate policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance

If you require additional cover then please contact KBIS directly.


When you are working for other people you do most of the following; muck out, turn out/catch in, tack up, groom horses, exercise Horses (including hacking, jumping and schooling), in the care of your employer/client.




Predominantly ride horses for other people including schooling, exercising and competing.   

 Provide grooming services for someone else either full time or on a freelance basis i.e. an employer or a client.   


Employ staff – have an employers liability policy in your name NO NO YES
Buy and sell horses NO YES YES