the gig economy
3rd August 2017

What Next For The Gig Economy?

There’s been another blow for the gig economy as Addison Lee lose an employment tribunal case regarding employment status. Like Uber and Deliveroo, their drivers remain self employed but wear their company logo.

The Tribunal Judge strongly disagreed with Addison Lee’s defence that the Claimant, Mr Gascoigne, was an independent contractor. This makes him responsible for his own work and time. The judge has ruled that they have control over their ‘contractors’ who aren’t able to decline a job when offered.  As such, the judge found that Mr Gascoigne should benefit from holiday pay, sick pay and minimum wage.

What Does This Mean For The Gig Economy?

Emma O’Leary, employment law consultant for the ELAS Group, says: “Notably in this case, the Tribunal was highly critical of a clause in the contract which stated that the contractor should ‘indemnify Addision Lee against any liability for any employment-related claim or any claim based on worker status brought by you’.  Essentially this clause is designed to deter the contractor from contemplating any claims. The Judge suggested this means that Addison Lee knew the risks of an employment status argument.

“These gig economy cases further highlight the problem identified in the Taylor Review. The report informed the government about exactly this issue – that being the clarification of employment status to protect workers.  Until these recommendations are implemented and until one of these cases makes it to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, technically there is nothing to stop the gig economy carrying on business as usual as this case is not a binding authority yet.  However, it’s likely the floodgates will open and it’s not long before the gig economy companies change their business model.

“An interesting and unusual case has just been heard in Scotland with an Employment Tribunal ruling that two foster carers were entitled to benefits as employees of the Glasgow City Council. The Tribunal was keen to stress that this was not a judgement about foster carers in general. This case appears to turn on very specific facts, but it is certainly one to watch in light of the current climate of employment status uncertainty.”


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