Partnerships, directorships and dismissal

Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Partnerships, directorships and dismissal
  • Partnerships
  • Directorships

Partnerships, directorships and dismissal

In some situations, the ordinary rules relating to dismissals do not apply or additional rules need to be considered. Two of the most important of these are when a partnership dissolves and when an employee is also a director of a company.


Partners in an unlimited partnership are not also employees of the partnership and do not enjoy the same statutory employment rights as employees on dismissal. A person who is employed by an unlimited partnership is employed by each of the partners acting together.

Theoretically, this means that when a partner joins or leaves, the contract of employment must come to an end, as the employee is no longer employed by the same legal entity.

Scots law has resolved this by finding that a partnership has a separate legal personality from the individual partners, whereas English law prefers to see it differently.

The situation when one or more partners leave a firm ― or new ones join ― but otherwise the partnership continues is a technical dissolution, but will not terminate employment where the dissolution causes no interruption in trading.

Technical dissolution of large partnerships will not normally terminate contracts of employment, even though the identity of the employer (ie all individual partners) changes.

It may do so in small partne

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