London-based Addison Lee, a private hire and cab and courier service, is the lastest ‘gig economy’ firm to adapt the way it operates due to a court ruling.
The company may now be required to pay out up to £10,000 in compensation to its drivers after they were deemed these staff ‘workers’ at a ruling in the capital.
Lord Justice Bean dismissed an appeal by Addison Lee against a 2017 employment tribunal that found that three drivers for the company should have been entitled to the minimum wage from the time they logged on to the app, and until they logged off.
The ruling is the latest victory for gig economy workers after the UK supreme court dismissed Uber and Deliveroo’s appeals for similar cases.
Addison Lee drivers are now entitled to the national minimum wage and paid holiday – although the firm does have 28 days to lodge an appeal to the supreme court.
What does it mean for the gig economy and employment law?
Addison Lee denied chance to appeal against ruling granting drivers employment rights
Employment status expert, Qdos, have responded to the news that thousands of Addison Lee drivers will retain their worker status, after a court refused the courier company’s request to appeal the ruling that they are not self-employed and deserve employment rights.
Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, commented: “It was Uber recently and now it’s Addison Lee – this isn’t the first nor will it be the last time gig economy workers stake their claim for employment rights and win. The ramifications of this year’s Uber ruling are clear to see, with this landmark victory already setting a precedent.
“This case is another reminder of the problems businesses face when engaging people under the wrong employment status. All companies that use self-employed people, not just so-called gig economy firms, should be making well-informed employment status decisions from the word go.
“The case also exposes the confusing nature of employment law, given drivers receive employment rights but stay self-employed for tax purposes. After the introduction of IR35 reform this month, it’s time employment status and tax status were aligned.”
Thousands of Addison Lee drivers could receive payout over workers’ rights
Further to the news that thousands of Addison Lee drivers could be entitled to an average of £10,000 each in compensation after the court of appeal found they were “workers” entitled to the national minimum wage and paid holiday, Business Leader received the below comments from Andrew Nugent Smith, Managing Director of class action law firm Keller Lenkner UK.
“This is the latest in a long line of decisions whereby the Courts have sought to protect the rights of gig economy workers. It demonstrates a growing acceptance that there is a lacuna in the law for this new type of service provider that needs to be addressed and that even the most flexible workers should be entitled to basic rights. It is unfortunate that the drivers in question had to fight for so long to assert their rights and one would hope that gig economy employers on the whole review their practices and revisit their offerings to people who should be classed as workers.”