A plumber has recently won a court case not only for himself, but also for those suffering under bogus self-employment here in the UK.
Gary Smith worked for plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers. Well known in the press, Mr Smith’s employment status has come under the microscope. Working full time for the company for six years, he took his case to the Supreme Court as he believed he was an employee and therefore entitled to things such as sick pay. Things he did not receive whilst being employed by the company as a self-employed worker.
While working for the company, the plumber was on call to carry out jobs for the Pimlico Plumbers customers. Within this, he was instructed to wear a uniform and rent a company van. And, in 2011, after suffering a heart attack, Mr Smith believed he was unlawfully dismissed. This was done after he tried to reduce his hours following his illness.
But, Pimlico Plumbers continued to state that Mr Smith was a worker. And consequently, he took his case to court.
Things didn’t go the company’s way though. It was declared that Mr Smith could claim ‘worker’ status even though in his contract he was described as a ‘self-employed operative’.
So, Pimlico Plumbers have lost (again), but who are the real winners and losers here?
Well we spoke to experts EEBS about the matter. They described:
“It comes as no surprise and the result has been long predicted by EEBS that Gary Smith has finally had his employment tribunal decision upheld by the Supreme Court, which found he was engaged by Pimlico plumbers as a worker, rather than a fully self-employed individual.
But what impact will the result of this case have? Well, Gary Smith will finally receive the pay out awarded to him from the court. Similarly, Charlie Mullins, owner of Pimlico, looks highly likely to be laughing all the way to the bank!
Charlie may well have paid out a few quid in legal costs for this case, but the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity has never seemed more appropriate. During the court hearing, turnover at Pimlico is up by 20% and Mr Mullins is forecasting £100m of turnover a year within the next five years!
In spite of what you might read in the press, this result will actually have very little impact on the wider range of employment rights issues that regularly dominate the headlines, think Deliveroo, Uber etc. As we highlighted in our previous article (if it walks like a duck…) – if your contract is fundamentally flawed, no matter what label you give it, it is highly likely to fail when tested in court.
So what could Charlie but more importantly, your business do to avoid all this nasty publicity and court case in the first place?
Well, taking our sound professional advice and getting EEBS to write a contract that clearly and definitively establishes the difference between an employment contract and a self-employed engagement is your best starting point.
EEBS will provide you with a bespoke solution built on 17 years of experience. We have guided dozens of clients through HMRC inspections with a 100% pass rate. EEBS also works in conjunction with the UK’s leading experts in construction taxation issues to write their contracts and systems ensuring they are water tight.
Don’t be a Charlie, contact EEBS and get your house in order.”
So what do you think of this? Let us know in the comments below.