Victory for gig economy workers' rights

Published: 13 Jun 2018

Thousands of workers in the ‘gig economy’ are set to benefit from a major Supreme Court ruling on workers’ rights to holiday pay and other benefits.

The Supreme Court today ruled in favour of Gary Smith, employed by Pimlico Plumbers as an 'independent contractor' who needed to work reduced hours following a heart attack. An Employment Tribunal and the courts all agreed that he should be protected by equality law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has funded Mr Smith’s case with TMP Solicitors since July 2015 and throughout the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court process.

Pimlico Plumbers employ over one hundred workers as independent contractors, while requiring them to wear their uniform and drive branded vehicles, giving the impression they are permanent employees of the company.

Equality and Human Rights Commission Chief Executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said:

'If you wear the uniform, if you drive the branded vehicle, if you only work for one business, you are employed. That means you are entitled to the appropriate protections and adjustments which go with the job, to enable you to work safely and productively. Everyone has the right to a healthy working environment and to that end businesses need to recognise their duties to their workers.

'This is one of the biggest decisions ever made by the courts on workers’ rights. Thousands of workers like Gary Smith could now find themselves with the added security of benefits like sick pay and holiday pay.'

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