Gig economy – a worldly view

Grappling with who is employed, who is a worker and who is genuinely self-employed in the gig economy can be a difficult task.  To help everyone, some wise words have been spoken in yet another employment status decision.

Addison Lee v Lang is a case concerning the status of taxi drivers who were allocated and expected to accept fares when they turned on their portable device provided by the taxi company.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal approved the Employment Tribunal’s finding that the drivers were ‘workers’ and so entitled to certain rights, such as to paid holidays.  The EAT observed:

“We consider that the tribunal, applying the ‘realistic and worldly wise’ approach mandated by Autoclenz, was entitled to reach the conclusion it did.”

There you have it.  Taking a ‘realistic and worldly wise’ view of what the working relationship looks like (and which we suggest is certain to take account of the bargaining power of the parties) is probably as good a guide as any to employment status and as to how gig economy relationships will be interpreted.