Friday, 15 June 2018

Supreme Court Rules on "Self-Employed" Plumber

The long - awaited Supreme Court ruling in the landmark Pimlico Plumbers case has upheld previous decisions that an ostensibly "self - employed" plumber was in fact properly classified as a "worker" with valuable employment rights under UK law (including discrimination protection and holiday pay).The ruling is important because of its the likely impact on a large number of individuals operating on a self-employed basis, including those operating in the "gig" economy. At the heart of the case (Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Smith [2018]UKSC 29) was the employment status of Gary Smith, a plumber who worked on a self employed basis with Pimlico for approximately six years over 2005 - 2011. Both the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal supported Mr Smith's position that he was a "worker" with limited, but often valuable, employment rights , including holiday pay. Pimlico Plumbers took the case to appeal in the Supreme Court.The comany has lost that appeal, with the Supreme Court supporting previous rulings that key aspects of Smith's working conditions meant that he cannot be classed as an independent self - employed contractor for employment law purposes. In the view of the Supreme Court, the fact that Pimlico exercised tight administrative control over Smith, imposed conditions around how much it paid him and on his clothing and appearance for work, and restricted his ability to carry out similar work for competitors if he moved on from the company, all supported the conclusion that he was a "worker" and not genuinely self-employed. The Supreme Court also noted that a main feature of his relationship with the company was that he would do the work personally, rather than pass it on to a substitute contractor, even though he did have the option to pass work to another Pimlico operative. www.charlesprice.net

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