The last 6 months have seen a flurry of cases regarding employment status, particularly in the gig economy. Individuals at Deliveroo and DX drivers are the latest to have issued claims.

In October 2016 the Employment Tribunal decided that 2 Uber drivers were in fact workers and not self-employed. As such they were entitled to certain employment rights such as holiday pay, sick pay and the right to receive the national minimum wage.

Uber have now been granted the right of appeal to challenge the decision before the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The hearing is due to take place on 27 and 28 September 2017.

In the intervening period the Court of Appeal have provided useful guidance on employment status in the case of Smith v Pimlico Plumbers, which will be binding on the Employment Appeal Tribunal and will no doubt be considered as part of the Uber appeal.

The conclusions of the Taylor review are also expected to have been published by then. The Taylor review has been commissioned by the Government to consider the effect of new types of working arrangements on the rights and responsibilities of workers. It will also look at the effect of such arrangements on employers’ obligations and the need for organisations to be able to maintain flexibility in their working practices. The review will also consider whether workers in the gig economy should be guaranteed the national minimum wage rather than them having to prove their status before being entitled to receive it. The intention is that the review will inform the Government’s future strategy.

Last month Matthew Taylor indicated that he would be recommending changes to the rights of “self-employed” workers in the review. In a recent interview he said he was considering a proposal to require firms to pay enhanced rates over and above the national minimum wage to workers on zero hours contracts who are effectively required to be on standby and then called upon at short notice in an effort to force companies to consider offering a guaranteed amount of work or face higher financial costs. We will publish the conclusions in due course but for now it appears that the law has failed to keep pace with the changing world of work and change is coming.

If you would like to discuss any issues raised in this article, we have specific employment law expertise in advising in this area. For further advice, please contact Angela Gorton or a member of the employment team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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