Are we all becoming self-employed?

Morrish SolicitorsEmployment, Site NewsLeave a Comment

With the increasing use of “self-employed” roles in today’s “gig economy”[1], there are more and more cases coming to Tribunal concerning employment status and basic employment rights. For example, this week there’s been much media reporting about Uber and Deliveroo.

Currently, Uber says its taxi drivers, known as ‘partner drivers’, are genuinely self-employed. This is being considered at Tribunal – the ET has to decide if they are. The drivers are pushing for worker status and the employment rights that come with it (national minimum wage, holiday pay etc). An Uber driver has already succeeded in a similar case in the US. How will they fare in the UK? We’ll soon see. See https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/20/uber-driver-employment-tribunal-minimum-wage.

On the same theme, Deliveroo has received criticism over an allegation that its delivery persons’ ‘freelance’ contracts ban them from access to Tribunals.  See https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/jul/25/deliveroo-workers-contracts-ban-access-to-employment-tribunals.

David Sorensen, partner, who has acted in many similar employment status cases, says: “this is cropping up more and more as many organisations try to limit their overheads (tax, national insurance, minimum wage, holiday pay rights etc) by classing individuals who would traditionally have been seen as employees or workers as self-employed contractors or freelancers. Helpfully, the UK courts and ETs have often seen through this. It will be interesting to see the outcomes of the Uber cases and cases involving other well-known brands and organisations”.

[1]A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. A recent study predicts that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be classed as independent contractors.

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