The employment status of an individual is important for their employment rights including holidays, sick pay, and protection against unfair dismissal. There are 3 status categories: self-employed; employee; worker.
Individuals who are self-employed have no employment protection rights. Individuals not meeting the higher benchmark of being employees may still have worker status.
In determining employment status the courts, tribunals and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will look at all aspects of the arrangement and no single test will be conclusive in all cases.
The key factors pointing to employee status are mutual obligations between the individual and their employer, personal service and control over the work by the employer (dates, times, how it is done).
The key factors pointing to self-employment are financial risk and the opportunity for financial gain, and that control over the work is in the hands of the individual.
Employment tribunals have been called upon to rule on employment status in a number of high profile cases. Uber and City Sprint are two firms that have recently lost legal arguments that their couriers are self-employed. Tribunals have ruled that they are workers; entitled to basic rights such as minimum wage and holiday pay.
Deliveroo couriers have caught on to this wave of claims and are taking it one step further, claiming that they are in fact employees. The firm representing the couriers argue that “Deliveroo riders carry out the sole function of Deliveroo – to deliver food and drink from restaurants to customers – and are tightly controlled by Deliveroo in what is clearly a dependent work relationship.”
Whether the Tribunals will accept the claim is yet to be seen, subscribe to our blog to find out more as it happens.
We are offering the chance of a free employment status check-up. Please contact our employment lawyer, Jane Elgar if you would like to take advantage of this offer.