A Supreme Court has ruled that a plumber who worked for Pimlico Plumbers was a worker and not self-employed as the company claimed.
The case, which centred on plumber Gary Smith, is now a test case for other workers “employed” within the so-called gig economy.
Pimlico Plumbers brought the case to the Supreme Court after having lost in every lesser court.
The case has raised issues, as many individuals who work within the gig economy feel that they should receive the same benefits and rights as employees. However, other self-employed contractors do not wish for an employee classification.
The ruling by the Supreme Court means that Mr Smith can receive holiday pay, sickness pay and other benefits such as protection from disability discrimination.
The case has led to further calls for the Government to create a positive legal definition of self-employment.
Julia Kermode of service providers’ trade association FCSA said: “This is a landmark result that is important for workers everywhere and should send a resounding signal to those firms that engage self-employed people to check their contractual arrangements and working practices. Employment status is complex, and this case illustrates the need to retain three tiers of employment status, as Gary Smith was neither employed nor self-employed.”
Some in the contractor industry have pointed out that there is a difference between people working in the gig economy with companies such as Uber and self-employed contractors who choose to work on that basis rather than as employees.