Addison Lee loses appeal on driver status

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld a ruling that Addison Lee’s drivers are workers rather than self-employed contractors.

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The ruling means they are entitled to associated worker rights, including the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay. The case was brought by the GMB union which has successfully taken legal action against businesses ranging from Uber to Hermes, arguing that their contractors are in fact workers.

Sue Harris, GMB Legal Director, said: “This is another huge win for GMB over bogus self-employment.

“Once again the courts have agreed Addison Lee drivers are legally entitled to workers’ rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay rights.

“Other employers should take note – GMB will not stop pursuing these exploitative companies on behalf of our members.”

The National Audit Office has also published a report saying that 800 more BBC presenters could face investigations over their employment status with nearly 300 of them said to have been hired through personal service companies (PSCs).

The BBC has been reviewing the status of its contractors under IR35.  In 2017 responsibility for determining employment status under IR35 switched to the public organisations which hired them.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee heard earlier this year that many BBC presenters felt they had been forced into setting up as PSCs by the BBC and were now being asked to pay high tax bills, with damaging effects on their mental health. One presenter said she was forced to set up a PSC and then made to go on short-term contracts when the IR35 issues sprang up. She was then told to go on PAYE, but with no employment rights and paid four thousand pounds less than another male colleague doing the same job. The stress was one factor which had led to her attempting suicide.

The Chancellor announced in his autumn statement that IR35 legislation is to be rolled out to the private sector in 2020. Contractor bodies fear it could have a huge impact on freelancers – and say it already has in the public sector – because of uncertainty over what counts as disguised employment.

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