Self-employed or Worker?

Self-employed or Worker?

17th February 2017

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of an Employment Tribunal that a plumber, was a worker and not self-employed.

This case follows an ever growing line of cases where the Courts have decided that certain people in the “gig” economy are workers even if they file tax returns as being self-employed.

The case involved a Gary Smith who was a plumber who worked for Pimlico Plumbers Limited. There was a written agreement between Mr Smith and Pimlico which governed his working hours, uniform and appearance, restricted his ability to work for other companies, required him to use the Pimlico van for work and stated that he could swap jobs with other Pimlico operatives.

The issue was that Pimlico wanted it to appear to its customers that Mr Smith was working for Pimlico; however at the same time, it wanted the relationship with Mr Smith to be one in which he was self-employed.

In this particular case, the Court found that Mr Smith was, in fact, a worker of Pimlico. Workers are entitled to certain employment rights such as paid holiday and the National Minimum Wage, amongst other rights.

This is another reminder to employers that the courts will look behind the labels given to working relationships to see if they reflect the reality of the situation.

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