Disputes concerning employment status continue to generate more claims in the Employment Tribunal. The recent case of Warren Augustine v Econnect Cars Ltd is yet another one in which an individual who was engaged as a self-employed was found to have statutory rights as a worker. However in this case not only did this lead to claims for holiday pay and national minimum wage but also rights as a part time worker.
Mr Augustine worked as a private hire car driver under an agreement in which he was described as self-employed. He was allocated work through an app. However he decided which hours he would be available to drive. On average he did shifts of between three and four hours five days a week. He left when the terms relating to the use of the cars was changed to introduce a rental charge for drivers who did not work through peak hours.
It was held that despite being labelled as self-employed Mr Augustine was a 'worker’ with statutory rights in relation to paid holiday entitlement and national minimum wage. In addition as his hours of work did have an impact on the amount of pay that he received he qualified for protection as a part time worker. That meant that any less favourable in comparison with a full-time driver would have to be objectively justified.
It has to be taken into account when engaging any contractor on a self-employed basis that they may have statutory rights as a ‘worker’. Where pay is influenced by the amount of time worked and the individual works less hours than others part time worker protection needs to be considered. In particular if some benefits are only available to full time workers reasons it will be important to consider the reasons as the decision may need to be justified if challenged.