The Supreme Court’s long awaited judgement in the “Pimlico Plumbers Case” is in!

The Supreme Court’s long awaited judgement in the “Pimlico Plumbers Case” is in! In a nutshell, the Court decided that a plumber with a contract describing him as an independent contractor was in fact a “worker” as defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Working Time Regulations 1998 and was “employed” for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

This meant that he was entitled to various rights (including holiday pay, working hours protection and disability rights) which would not have been available to him as a self employed person. 

Why is this important? Essentially it means that simply because someone works under a label of being “self employed”, even if a contract describes him or her as such, it does not necessarily mean that he actually is for the purposes of Employment Law. People described as self employed under such arrangements may have more rights than their “employer” wishes them to have.

This may have wide implications for the expanding “gig economy” and generally but It’s important to understand that this was a case sensitive decision based upon the particular circumstances of one individual and his working arrangements. It should not be taken as something introducing wholescale changes to existing employment law.

Perhaps the best advice here is to watch this space – there will undoubtedly be more cases decided on similar issues which will hopefully clarify the position and give some degree of certainty.