UK Court Rules Contractor Entitled to Employment Rights in Test Case for Gig Economy


A London plumber, who claimed to have been out of business for years after working as a contractor, took a court decision Wednesday (June 13th) in a closely monitored trial that tested pseudo-labor laws in the so-called business world economy.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers on a full-time basis for six years, had rights such as sick pay and minimum wage. Smith tried to reduce his hours after a heart attack and the company argued that he did not have the right to such protection because he was a contractor doing his job.

The case will now go back to a labor court to resolve the unfair exclusion claim.

The case brings many questions to the agenda in the ongoing debate about the independent contractors in the economy; where people work with little security and few jobs.

Some companies have argued that the gig system provides lifestyle benefits for people who want flexibility, but also allows regulators to avoid many of the hassles associated with hiring full-time employees.

Although U.K.’s decision will not apply to employees outside the country, it is part of a tendency for regulators to examine workers’ rights more closely at companies such as Uber and application-based food distribution cyclists.

Power is both remarkable in terms of determining the mood of the mood for controversial debates, while insisting that nothing really has changed in the notion of “workers”. Smith has been involved in the case of a 150-year-old British business law context. What is a worker and what rules and regulations apply to this status.

Sean Nesbitt, the partner of international law firm Taylor Wessing, who is not involved in the case, argued that the case was important because it convinced the court that the judges had already been understood.

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“They just say: We know what a worker is and we can see it from existing principles, and we do it,” he said. “It is important to consider this as a combination of tendencies.”

The ruling is not good for Uber, who faces the moment of his reckoning in front of the Court of Appeals in October. An action-packed practice is appealing the decision of an Employment Appeals Tribunal that decides that the company’s drivers are workers, not independent contractors, in a situation that goes to the heart of the company’s business model.

“People will consider how to appeal to Uber’s appeal as an air wagon,” Nesbitt said.

The ruling came about a year after a great work by Tony Blair’s former adviser, Matthew Taylor, as a result of the need for greater labor protection for workers in the business world.

The Taylor report was the result of the need to create a “subcontractor”, a new category of workers, to provide real flexibility for workers. At the same time he pointed out that there is a new norm among the labor force.

With an estimate, there are about 1.1 million people in the economic economy of Britain, as well as those in the National Health Service. A separate 2016 study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggested that roughly 26 percent of the workforce in the UK is independent or works independently to support their incomes, roughly the same as in the US.

As the workplace develops rapidly, businesses are struggling to cope.

Mishcon de Reya business partner Susannah Kintish, representing Pimlico Plumbing, said businesses expect legislation to classify the workforce, such as the current employment law “making it increasingly inappropriate for the purpose.”

“Individuals operating in the global economy need precise categorization and the entrepreneurs are eager to act equally to get these rights in the beginning and they do it in their own interests,” he said.

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