Should You Employ Your Gardener?


Published on November 14, 2020

Should you employ your gardener? When you are looking to hire a gardener, this is definitely something to consider.  But even if you, yourself are a gardener. It is important to know what the rules and regulations are, in the country you work in. And then also figure out whether employment or being self-employed is the best way for you to go.

So let’s have a look, should you employ your gardener?

So in short: you can do both! But it really depends on your set up, situation, and how many hours your gardener will be working for you. So it requires a more extensive answer, really. Under UK law, a gardener can either be self-employed or employed. So you are not bound to do one thing or the other. (If you are not in the UK, always check the guidelines of that country though!).

So you should really know what the difference is between employment and self-employed setups. Both for you as a potential employer. And if you are a gardener yourself! This way you can make the best decision suited for you, and get the right things in place.

Self-Employed Gardener

What does it mean to be a self-employed gardener? It’s simply. What it means, is that you are responsible for paying your own taxes. Whatever money you will get paid for doing your gardening work, is money in gross. This means that at the end of every tax year, you will do your tax return or self-assessment. From that, you will pay the amount of money, tax, you owe to HMRC (if you are in the UK). This also may include paying National Insurance and other possible costs. So when you are self-employed you need to make sure that whenever you get paid, you instantly put enough money aside for when that tax bill comes.

So being self-employed as a gardener can be a great option. But make sure you can be organised as you will need to be on top of everything yourself. but you have to be organised. Because there are a lot of things there are not arranged. There will be no holiday pay, sick pay, or maternity leave pay for example. On the other hand, being self-employed gives you much more flexibility because you are not bound by a contract. In some cases, there will be a work agreement. But this often gives much more flexibility than an actual employment contract and is not as binding.

From the Employers Perspective

If you are looking to have a gardener do work for you who will be self-employed, you have to pay them a salary in gross. Do not deduct any money for Income Tax, National Insurance, or other deductions. You do not have to pay holiday pay for a self-employed gardener. Neither do you have to pay Statuary Sick Pay (SSP) or Maternity Pay.

Employed Gardener

And then there’s the option of employing your gardener. This simply means that you hire them, either directly or through your company, and they are not self-employed or paid through an agency.

If you are planning to employ someone, you will need to put certain things in place.  You will also need to ensure that the gardener can legally work in the country you are employing them in. So make sure to look at visa requirements as it will depend per country and passport nationality. There is a chance they for example would need a working permit so that they can legally be employed there. So make sure to be on top of that.

When you employ a gardener, there are things you will be responsible for as an employer.  This can include the following:

  • Make sure the gardener has the right to work in the UK
  • You have to provide your gardener with an employment contract
  • You are then legally obliged to pay your employed gardener at least 20 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays each year (if in a full-time, permanent employment). If the employee is part-time then holiday should be set on a pro-rata basis.
  • You will be legally obliged to pay the gardener Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Maternity Pay, where relevant
  • Provide your gardener with payslips.
  • Set up payroll/PAYE (or use a payroll service or accountant for this)
  • You should deduct and pay the employees Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, as well as any other deductions from the salary paid.

From the gardener’s point  of view

If you are a gardener who is employed, it can give you much more security and stability. Employment comes with a contract with clear rules, notice periods set up so you can be more secure in your job. In comparison to being self-employed. Also, if you do not like organising your own taxes and contributions, being employed might be a better option for you!

Fixed-term Contracts

Fixed-term contracts are another option to go for. This means you can either employ them directly or they can be self-employed. The rules above, however, still apply.

You can have a fixed-term contract for less than a year. In this case, you may pay them for less than the usual 20 days holiday and 8 bank holidays. You should work out their holiday pay on a pro-rata basis, which means they earn their holiday as they work.

Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions

If you employ a gardener directly, you must pay HMRC the Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. You have to deduct this from the gardener’s gross pay. There may also be other deductions from your gardener’s gross pay, including:

  • Student loan repayments
  • Pension contributions
  • Payroll giving (the employee can donate to charity before their tax is deducted)
  • Child maintenance (if requested by the Child Maintenance Service)

So should you employ your gardener? It is completely up to you! Hopefully you can now understand that either option can be right or wrong for you. It depends on the setup and on what works best for you. So make sure you understand what might work best for you. Do you need help, either as a gardener finding a job? Or when you are looking to find the right gardener for you and your household? We can help! Our expert consultants will be liable to seamlessly take you through the whole process. Why not contact us now and we look forward to getting started for you!

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