March 25, 2019
The issues surrounding worker status of Uber drivers continues however this issue is now extending into other sectors. The Employment Tribunal has recently provided Judgement ruling that National Art Gallery educators were in fact “workers”.
Overview of the case
27 Claimants pursued a collective claim for unfair dismissal, holiday pay and failure to consult on redundancy. The National Gallery resisted all claims on the basis that the Claimants did not have the rights to pursue such claims as they believed them to be independent contractors.
The Employment Tribunal considered the nature of the relationship between them rather than relying on the terms in the contract to establish how the relationship worked in reality. Some of the aspects that the Employment Tribunal took into account were:
- Was training provided?
- Probationary periods?
- Written terms in the letter of engagement (were they guaranteed work and were they at liberty to turn down any work?)
- Who would pay income tax and National insurance contributions?
- Who provided resources?
- Could they cancel a job after accepting it?
- Did they have any working patterns?
- What was their entitlement to expenses and benefits?
What can be taken from this decision?
Employment status is an important issue within the employment relationship as it determines rights and entitlements such as holiday pay and national minimum wage. If the written terms do not reflect the reality, then they can be disregarded by an Employment Tribunal. There is still further clarification required on this topic which will continue to develop as more cases are heard. Both employees and employers need to make sure that they are receiving/providing the rights and entitlements that apply to the actual nature of the relationship.