Hot on the heels of the judgment against taxi firm, Uber, the working practices of the so called “gig economy” have once again come under scrutiny.

A London Employment Tribunal recently ruled in favour of Maggie Dewhurst, a bicycle courier with logistics company CitySprint. Ms Dewhurst had been working for CitySprint for over 2 years on a self-employed basis and so did not benefit from basic employment rights such as minimum pay and paid leave.  She claimed however, that her employment status was more like that of a worker because “we spend all day being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it.”

The tribunal agreed with Ms Dewhurst, echoing the judgement returned in the Uber case last year. With other such legal cases in progress the recent decisions will likely have far reaching consequences for businesses who favour a self-employed staffing structure.

In 2016 the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimated that approximately 5 million people were working in the gig economy in the UK. Although the business model allows individuals the flexibility to choose their working hours, concerns are being raised that it is failing to provide even the most basic of employment rights such as:

  • National Minimum Wage
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption Pay or Leave
  • Paid Annual Leave
  • Protection against unauthorised deductions from pay

A Government review into working practices and employment rights in the gig economy is currently underway.

Gig Economy Employment Rights

If you have questions regarding your employment status or perhaps you are an employer with a self-employed workforce wondering what these judgements will mean for your business, contact a member of our specialist employment law team for a free initial consultation to talk through your concerns.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

Tel:         01245 893400