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Self Employed Contractor or Worker? A Further Clamp down on Employment Status

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Self Employed Contractor or Worker? A Further Clamp down on Employment Status

In the latest ruling on employment status within the so-called “gig economy”, the Court of Appeal has found that plumbers employer by Pimlico plumbers are workers and not self-employed contractors.

The case of Pimlico Plumbers & Charlie Mullins v Gary Smith is the latest in a line of high profile cases about employment status. Following the recent decisions in the Uber, CitySprint and Deliveroo cases, the Court has found against the employers and determined that the individuals working form them have more employment rights than were initially being offered. This judgment has come just after the government has released a report warning that “unscrupulous” employers were in a position to exploit low-paid and low-skilled workers.

In the case, Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for six years until 2011, successfully claimed that he was not a self-employed contractor and was actually a worker. As such, Mr Smith claimed that he was entitled to additional benefits such as paid holiday and pension contributions. The Court looked at how Mr Smith was required to carry out his work and determined that he was under the direct control of his employer and was required to carry out his work personally. Control and personal service are indicators of a worker relationship and the Court could not find any evidence to suggest that Mr Smith was self-employed, as claimed by his employer.

This case is important because it highlights the complexities of employment status and serves as a warning to employers to ensure that they have properly identified the correct status of the individuals working for them. A failure to properly categorise workers can leave employers with significant compensation liabilities and not to mention, a damaged reputation.

If you would like to understand what your obligations are in terms of employment status, do not hesitate to contact a member of our Advisory Team on 01274 864999.

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