Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fighting the gig economy

Despite paying self-employed tax and being VAT registered, Mr Smith was a worker, the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, said. Worker status means entitlement to a national minimum wage, holiday pay and protection from discrimination.
The Supreme Court justices said: “The dominant feature of Mr Smith’s contract was that he must do the work himself.”
The company exercised “tight administrative control” over Mr Smith and he “undertook to do the work personally”, the Supreme Court said. Pimlico Plumbers required Mr Smith to wear a company branded uniform and to lease one of its vans, which displayed the company's logo and was equipped with a GPS tracker. Mr Smith also had to work a minimum number of hours per week.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, hailed the judgment as “one of the biggest decisions ever made by the courts on workers’ rights”.
“If you wear the uniform, if you drive the branded vehicle, if you only work for one business, you are employed. That means you are entitled to the appropriate protections and adjustments which go with the job, to enable you to work safely and productively. Everyone has the right to a healthy working environment, and to that end businesses need to recognise their duties to their workers.”  She added: “Thousands of workers like Gary Smith could now find themselves with the added security of benefits like sick pay and holiday pay.”

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