The difference between Bona Fide and Labour Only subcontractors

Bona Fide

In general Bona Fide subcontractors work under their own direction. They should have their own insurance in place and provide their own tools/material rather than you providing them.

Bona Fide subcontractors do not need to be included in your premium calculation, however, most policies require that you check your Bona Fide subcontractors’ insurance details to ensure they are adequately insured. If you spot any issues please contact us and we are happy to assist.

Labour Only

In UK law a labour only subcontractor will be classed an employee of your business. Normally they won’t have their own tools or materials and they will be acting under your direction. The employees will be factored into your insurance premium and typically won’t have their own business insurance.

How do you tell the difference?

Here are a few examples but if you need any help please give Edison Ives a call.

Task/ResponsibilityLabour OnlyBona Fide
Own public liability insuranceNoYes
Paid by Invoice
Hourly, weekly, monthly payments
Overtime paymentsYesNo
Supply own toolsNoYes
Fixed number of hoursYesNo
Can reassign workNoYes
Fixed priced contractNoYes
Decide own hoursNoYes
Service contractNoYes
Employee contractYesNo
Hire additional labourNoYes


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