Pimlico plumbers case ruling

The supreme court recently ruled in a significant case, the case of Gary Smith Versus Pimlico Plumbers. The case sets a precedent for those self employed as contractors and has potential ramifications for the gig economy with further key cases being heard this year.

The case was brought by Gary Smith who worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers who worked for the company as a plumber and heating engineer for six years until 2011. He unfortunately suffered a heart attack and then requested to work three days, the request was rejected and the rented van he had used which was supplied by Pimlico Plumbers was removed from him.

Challenging the ruling through the European Court

Lord Wilson who delivered the judgment on 13th June stated “Although the contract did provide him with elements of operational and financial independence, Mr Smith’s services to the company’s customers were marketed through the company” Pimlico plumbers have taken the case through both the Employment appeal tribunal, the court of appeal and are preparing to challenge the case further through the European court.

The case was fully funded by The Equality and Human Rights Commission, who’s chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath commented on the result “If you wear the uniform, if you drive the branded vehicle, if you only work for one business, you are employed. That means you are entitled to the appropriate protections and adjustments which go with the job, to enable you to work safely and productively. Thousands of workers like Gary Smith could now find themselves with the added security of benefits like sick pay and holiday pay.”

Self- employed contractors

The ramifications will be felt by many who are both employed and who employ those within the gig economy as workers will now be entitled to sick pay, holiday pay and benefits such as pensions if it is concluded that they are indeed employees. There are around 4.8 million subcontractors and individuals who are employed within the gig economy and who are likely to be affected by the decision.

The full judgment is available here https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2017-0053-judgment.pdf

 

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