I was interested to see the outcome of a recent case where a cycle courier firm was found to be liable to pay one of their workers, who they described as a freelancer, holiday pay.
There has been a boom in the so-called gig economy in recent years as people find part-time work with more than one employer. In this particular case, the courier company, City Sprint, considered the employee a self-employed freelancer.
The judge, however, described the contractual arrangements as “contorted”, “indecipherable” and “window dressing”. In addition, City Sprint required their self-employed workers to undergo induction training and issued them with uniforms, all of which led the judge to conclude that they were employed on what was effectively a zero hours basis and thus entitled to some rights.
Although it was emphasised that this case was one pertaining to a specific individual, I believe it will open up a can of worms and there are likely to be consequences for people employing what they consider to be self-employed staff in roles such as chambermaids, construction workers and delivery drivers.
In another recent case, two drivers for the taxi app Uber won an employment tribunal victory which could force their employer to provide sick pay and holiday pay for its entire workforce of some 40,000 people.
The government has announced a six month investigation into modern employment practices and HM Revenue and Customs has a new unit dedicated to considering how companies employ freelancers and self-employed workers.
If you have any concerns about your own use of freelance or self-employed staff I will be happy to have a confidential chat with you to explore your responsibilities under current legislation.
Give me a call today on 03300 884352.