The ‘Gig Economy’ has hit headlines again with a further Employment Tribunal decision on the employment status of those working within it.

In October 2016 an Employment Tribunal ruled that drivers at the taxi company, Uber, were ‘workers’ rather than self-employed drivers. This was significant because workers are entitled to certain minimum employment rights that the self-employed are not, such as:

  • Paid holiday
  • A maximum 48 hour average working week and rest breaks
  • The national minimum wage (and the national living wage)

Earlier this month, the Central London Employment Tribunal found that bicycle couriers at CitySprint were also ‘workers’ for the courier firm. This was despite documentation referring to them as self-employed contractors. This case demonstrates the importance of looking at how people work in practice rather than relying upon what the agreement states.

There are further cases still to be heard in this area, in particular involving the take-away firm Deliveroo, and courier firms Addison Lee, Excel and E-Courier. These are due to be heard later this year.

The Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also announced an inquiry into the future world of work, with a focus on looking at the rights and protections of those working in these evolving employment sectors. Likewise HMRC has announced that it intends to set up a compliance team to investigate firms that purport to use large numbers of self-employed contractors to deliver their services. This followed on from calls for an investigation into the employment practices at the delivery firm, Hermes.

What is certain is that this is not the last that we will hear about the ‘Gig Economy’ and that such cases demonstrate the importance of knowing your true employment status and reciprocal rights.

If you have any questions about your employment status or employment rights, then we can help. Here at Beecham Peacock we have a trusted relationship with some of the largest trade unions in the country to protect your working rights. For further information call us on 0191 232 3048 or email enquire@beechampeacock.co.uk.

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