Employers will welcome updated Acas guidance on the status of different types of employee and worker, following various recent rulings that purported self-employed contractors working in the ‘gig economy’ can in fact be ‘workers’ and entitled to basic employment rights.
The phrase ‘gig economy’ refers to work (often individual tasks) carried out under short-term contracts, or as a freelancer, as opposed to permanent jobs carried out by employees.
The updated Acas guidance, Employment status, aims to provide clarity on the different ways people can work, and the employment rights to which they are entitled. The section on those working as self-employed contractors or through ‘umbrella’ companies has been expanded in the light of recent legal rulings relating to Uber drivers, bicycle couriers and plumbers working in the gig economy. In all these cases, those taken on as self-employed contractors with no employment rights were in fact treated by the tribunals and courts as ‘workers’, and therefore entitled to basic employment rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
The guidance also covers workers on zero hours contracts, agency workers, fixed term workers, apprentices, workers with no fixed base, piece workers and volunteers.
Download the Acas guidance from the Acas website
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Jonathan Waters is the founder of Helix Law. Before qualifying as a Solicitor he worked in industry and in investment banking for over a decade. He was also the Partner in charge of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law and Property Litigation at Stephen Rimmer LLP. Jonathan has wide experience of helping and advising businesses to avoid or to deal with commercial disputes and in particular construction disputes.
This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice.