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Courier in gig economy organisation is a worker not an independent contractor

A cycle courier working for the delivery firm CitySprint Ltd (CS Ltd) has won the right to paid holidays and the National Minimum Wage in a key ruling on the gig economy.
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A cycle courier working for the delivery firm CitySprint Ltd (CS Ltd) has won the right to paid holidays and the National Minimum Wage in a key ruling on the gig economy. The Guardian report that CitySprint argued that a female cycle courier was an independent contractor, but the tribunal found that her formal employment classification should be as a worker, and as such entitled to paid holiday and the National Minimum Wage. Employment Judge Joanna Wade described CitySprint’s contractual arrangements as contorted, indecipherable and window-dressing.

A news report by IDS (subscription service) provides further details of the Judge Wade’s reasoning. The reality of courier’s working conditions made it clear that she was integrated into CS Ltd’s business. She was expected to work when she said she would; she was given directions throughout her ‘on circuit’ time; she was instructed to smile and wear a uniform; and she was told when she would be paid and how much, according to CS Ltd’s calculations. Thus, she was not working for herself but on CS Ltd’s behalf.

The Guardian comment that the ruling comes as pressure grows on firms in the gig economy to treat workers more fairly and offer basic employment benefits. CitySprint has 42 days to lodge an appeal and is reviewing the judgment saying: “This case has demonstrated that there is still widespread confusion regarding this area of law, which is why we are calling on the government to provide better support and help for businesses across the UK who could be similarly affected.”

The aim of this update is to provide summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. In particular, where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented by the parties and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links provided to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for further details.  Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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