(Image from the BBC)
In a key gig economy case decision, the Supreme Court has decided that a plumber who brought a case against his former employer was in fact a “worker” and should therefore be entitled to holiday pay and other basic workers’ rights.
The court upheld the previous decision by the Court of Appeal that Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers, could be described by a ‘worker’ despite signing an agreement with the company describing himself as ‘self-employed’, and filing tax returns to this effect.
Read the full BBC article here- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44465639 Or read the ruling here- https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2017-0053.html
Gary Smith’s case against Pimlico Plumbers, which has been running since 2011, is the latest in a long line of legal challenges on employment status, and “is in line with a number of recent decisions relating to gig economy workers”, according to Jeremy Coy, an associate in the employment team at law firm Russell-Cooke.
He said: “The judgment of the UK’s highest court underlines the point that simply labelling workers ‘self-employed’ does not guarantee the corresponding legal status. The nature of the relationship and the degree of bargaining power and obligation between the parties is crucial in determining workers’ rights.”
However, while the decision is good news for Smith, many employers and legal experts had hoped this case might set out greater clarity over how to determine employment status.
Susannah Kintish, employment partner at Mishcon de Reya, has been leading the case for Pimlico Plumbers against Smith. She said: “This judgment does not lay down any new principles of law around worker status. “So now all eyes will be on the Government as businesses await legislation on how to categorise their workforce”. She added that the Supreme Court had made it clear that the judgment rested heavily on the unique facts of this case, rather than setting out any new legal principles for employers.
On twitter Frances O’Grady@FrancesOGrady said – “Important Supreme Court decision against Pimlico Plumbers. Sham self-employment is being used to deny workers their basic rights. Time to end the Wild West in the gig economy”.
However Charlie Mullins Pimlico Plumbers CEO said yesterday 13/06/2018 on twitter @PimlicoPlumbers said – “Supreme Court failure to drag employment law into 21st century will lead to a ‘tsunami of claims’! #SupremeCourt #emplaw.
(Image from Independent)
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