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Landmark case for gig workers

13 June 2018

Landmark case for gig workersA self-employed plumber has won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling.

The ruling could have ramifications for many other gig workers that work exclusively for one employer.

Plumber Gary Smith was employed as a self-employed contractor even though he worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years. Today's ruling says he was a worker and as such was entitled to employment rights such as holiday and sick pay.

Dave Chaplin, ceo and founder of ContractorCalculator described the ruling as a "victory for 'good work'". He said: "Pimlico Plumbers hired 'self-employed' people and put them in branded vehicles, branded clothing, and expected them to adhere to policies and processes for their company. They should be entitled to their rights, regardless of how much they earned. Hopefully we will see a wave of other firms complying with their statutory obligations as a result of today's decision."

Julia Kermode, chief executive of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), said: "This is a landmark result that is important for workers everywhere and should send a resounding signal to those firms that engage self-employed people to check their contractual arrangements and working practices.

"Employment status is complex, and this case illustrates the need to retain three tiers of employment status as Gary Smith was neither employed nor self-employed. He was required to work at least 40 hours per week, was required to wear a Pimlico Plumbers uniform and drive a branded van. He also had to ask permission to take time off and Pimlico Plumbers restricted his ability to compete for other work. He was clearly a worker, and not self-employed."

The Government is currently consulting on employment status. Julia Kermode has warned that any changes to legislation must not penalise those that are genuinely self-employed.

She said: "Self-employed workers do not need an extra layer of red tape or any more legislation imposed on them that will serve to hamper them. Conversely a worker, like Gary Smith, should not be exploited and should be entitled to certain rights and benefits. This case is set to change the employment landscape forever."

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