The term ‘Gig Economy’ is used increasingly to describe a new type of employment practice.

Instead of earning a regular wage, individuals get paid for the ‘gigs’ they perform, such as food delivery or taxi driving. In the UK it is estimated that five million people are employed within this model. It is only set to increase as more jobs of this nature are emerging.

In defence of these contracts, employers claim there are benefits to the Gig Economy: that people can work flexibly and control how much time they work, leaving them free to juggle other priorities in their lives.

Typically, those working in the Gig Economy are classed as independent contractors. This means that they have no protection against unfair dismissal, no right to redundancy payments and no right to receive National Minimum Wage or paid holiday.

In recent months, several cases have gone against employers who have tried to classify their workers as self-employed in order to deny them basic employment rights. A number of different types of people in the Gig Economy have been found to be ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors. In many instances judges have held that employers have attempted to create the appearance of self-employment in the wording of their contracts, but that the day-to-day practices were quite different. Whilst they are not employees, the courts have held them to be ‘workers’, entitling them to some basic rights such as holiday pay and National Minimum Wage.

The Court of the European Union has also held that a worker who was not paid when taking holidays was prevented from exercising his EU rights to paid time off. The Court went so far as approving the claim for all backdated holiday pay from the start of the contract. In theory, such backdated claims could go back as far as 1998 when the Working Time Regulations first became law, if the worker has been with the employer that long.

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Our employment solicitors can review the arrangements that you have in place with a company to ascertain what rights you have. 

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Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.

Joanne Evans

Joanne Evans

Jo is a Partner and Head of our Employment department

Joanne Henderson

Joanne Henderson

Jo is a Partner in both our Employment and Compliance departments

Charlotte Gilbert

Charlotte Gilbert

Charlotte is a Senior Solicitor in our Employment department

Helen Littlewood

Helen Littlewood

Helen is a Senior Solicitor in our Employment department

David Jones

David Jones

David is a Senior Solicitor in our Employment department

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne

Patrick is a Solicitor in our Employment department

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