Court Grants Worker Rights for Self-Employed Plumber

Hot on the heels of the Uber case, the Court of Appeal has again decided that self-employed individuals can be considered to be ‘workers’.

Garry Smith was VAT-registered and paying tax on a self-employed basis, but had worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years.  Following a heart attack, he wanted to reduce his working days at Pimlico Plumbers from 5 days per week to 3.  The Company refused.

Whilst he was self-employed, the Court of Appeal agreed that he was entitled to basic workers' rights, including the national minimum wage, paid holiday and the ability to bring discrimination claims.  Pimlico Plumbers are likely to appeal to the Supreme Court to try to seal the decision in its favour.

In reality, this decision is not hugely significant as self-employed individuals have often been considered to be ‘workers’ in the past and each case is assessed based on its individual facts.  However, it serves as a reminder to make sure both contracts and working practices are watertight to avoid any potential claims.