Yesterday the big legal news was around the judgement where a plumber won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling. It is expected to have huge ramifications for freelance workers, according to the BBC.
Paul Reader, Berry & Lamberts Managing Partner and an employment law expert, said “The Court found, quite rightly, that due to the degree of control that Pimlico Plumbers exercised over Mr Smith, he was a worker under the Employment Rights Act, Working Time Regulations and the Equality Act.
Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that Mr Smith had limited ability to provide a substitute worker if he was not able to carry out the work himself. The court also looked at the contractual terms in relation to payment, holiday notification and hours he was required to work. Bearing in mind the terms of the contract, it is surprising that Pimlico Plumbers took this case to the Supreme Court as it appears quite clear from the various terms that Mr Smith was a worker.”
He continued, “The usual border line cases are where the contractual terms say one thing but the working practices show something different. In this case the contractual terms appear to have left Pimlico Plumbers exposed.”
Whether this case actually expands the law in this area is debatable. However it serves as a reminder that where an employer is able to dictate the hours of work and prohibits a person from providing a substitute to carry out the work required, they are likely to be classified as a worker and have rights under the above mentioned acts.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.