Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Plumbing firm's appeal over worker's status to be heard at Supreme Court

Plumbing firm's appeal over worker's status to be heard at Supreme Court Plumbing firm's appeal over worker's status to be heard at Supreme Court
Russell Knight | 20 February, 2018, 19:47

The leading tax specialist stated that a Pimlico Plumber's fight for basic worker's rights highlights the need for clarity when it comes to defining a self-employed worker, gig economy worker and employee, particularly given ongoing IR35 uncertainty.

These rights include the national minimum wage and paid holiday.

The case centres on Gary Smith, a plumber who worked for the company for almost six years, and his right to claim "worker" status even though his contract says he was "self-employed".

Gary Smith was required under the agreement to wear a Pimlico Plumbers uniform, use a van leased from the company, displaying its logo and equipped with a Global Positioning System tracker.

Starting today, the Supreme Court is hearing an appeal from Pimlico Plumbers chief executive Charlie Mullins.

The Court of Appeal was swayed in particular by the claimant's requirement to provide his services personally.

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"Companies will have to restructure their models to minimise the risk of worker status being triggered and carry out a review of their contractual wording - albeit with the knowledge that tribunals will look beyond what is written down".

It will be for the Supreme Court to decide.

Mr Mullins said it was different from other cases brought by Deliveroo and Uber, but it will have "huge ramifications" on employment law for a number of industries.

He argues that the case has nothing to do with the gig economy and that Mr Smith is not in the same as an Uber driver.

"This is the distinction that we are hoping to make clear to the Supreme Court".

A tribunal judge said the firm imposed restrictions on the work Smith could do and that he was obliged to perform a certain number of minimum hours on agreed days, meaning he should be considered a worker. Mr Mullins thinks he is facilitating self-employment, for a fee.

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