09 January 2017
Bike Courier Granted Worker Rights in Gig Economy Case
A bike courier has won the right to the National Minimum Wage and paid holiday as the courts decide she should be classed as a worker for CitySprint.
The London-based courier service wrongly classed Mags Dewhurst, 29, as a self-employed freelancer or an ‘independent contractor’ and as a result was found to have failed to have paid her for two days holiday.
Like many other people who work in the gig economy, Ms Dewhurst picks up lots of small low paid jobs, typically delivering medical supplies to hospitals all over the capital. There are an estimated 4.79 million people self-employed on a temporary basis in the UK.
For those who work on a job-by-job basis in the gig economy job security is scarce.
Commenting on the employment tribunal ruling her to be classed as a worker, Ms Dewhurst said: "I'm delighted that the tribunal ruled in our favour as it has set a legal and moral precedent which others can use to make similar claims.
“This is so much more important than my two days’ holiday. This wasn’t just about me. It was about people who have been working here for 20 years without any of these rights.”
Determining the employment status of people who work in the gig economy is important because it determines their employment rights and protections. Workers have valuable statutory rights, such as the right to national minimum wage, holidays and sick pay, which self-employed people do not.
CitySprint will now decide whether or not they wish to appeal the employment tribunal decision. The courier service has called for the UK Government to provide better support for businesses and to clarify the law on employing people in the gig economy.