Following our blog on the gig economy (see link) we highlighted the recent challenges made to the ‘self-employed’ status of individuals working within the new tech-based service industries such as Uber and Deliveroo.
In a further development on that theme, in the more traditional business of plumbing, the Court of Appeal last week handed down its judgment in the case of Pimlico Plumbers v Gary Smith which looked at the employment status of the ‘Pimlico plumber’ Gary Smith.
Mr Smith was a plumber who carried out work for Pimlico Plumbers between 2005 and 2011; he was registered as self-employed and made full use of the corresponding tax advantages. However, he argued he was a worker or an employee of Pimlico Plumbers and was found to be a worker because (i) he undertook to personally provide services, and (ii) Pimlico Plumbers exercised tight control over many aspects of Mr Smith’s work.
This judgment adds to the growing body of case law relating to workers who have been working as ‘self-employed’ but who have challenged that status before the Employment Tribunal. It is increasingly apparent from the case law that the Courts and Tribunals are likely to extend worker rights (holiday, protection from discrimination, National Minimum Wage) to anyone who lacks the commercial independence of the genuinely self-employed.
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