A tough gig
The gig economy has been hailed as a flexible and highly profitable solution for workers and startups alike. However, a string of tribunal hearings have recently revealed that many legal pitfalls entrepreneurs risk stumbling into when they choose to Uberise their workforce.
In March, Deliveroo became the latest startup to be called to face a tribunal for defining its riders as self-employed contractors. Over the past year, courier company Citysprint, ride-hailing startup Uber and plubming company Pimlico Plumbers have all faced and lost similar cases. Uber is currently appealing against its tribunal ruling, while in February Pimlico Plumbers lost a similar appeal after a tribunal stated it had wrongfully defined a worker as a self-employed contractor for six years.
“In the good old days, employment law was very simple,” says Stephen Morrall, employment partner at Hunters Solicitors, the commercial-law firm. “People were either employed or self-employed: they either had a contract of employment or a contract to do the work and get paid for it.”
“A worker has a status that has neither all the protections and benefits of being an employee nor all the flexibility and advantages of being self-employed,” says Morrall
“What companies in the gig economy can ask themselves is if the people they engage with are truly independent,” says Morrall.
Read the article in Elite Business on pages 72-73, via a PDF, here.