Excel Courier Classed as Worker: Employers Urged to Take Action

blog-publish-date

03 Apr 2017

blog-read-duration

An Employment Tribunal has found that a courier for Excel is actually a worker, following a claim regarding holiday pay.

Andrew Boxer, who started working for the courier service in September 2013, argued that he was entitled to one week of holiday pay, with the Tribunal ultimately considering his claim “well-founded”. Mr Boxer launched his claim after he was not paid for a week’s holiday taken in March 2016, with the tribunal stating that Excel “unlawfully failed to pay the claimant”.

Claims arising from the “gig economy” are quickly gaining momentum, with several heard this year alone. This latest decision is the latest of a number in which it has been found that the firm involved had obligations to persons they considered self-employed. The contracts between Mr Boxer and Excel referenced ‘contractor’ and ‘sub-contractor’ status during the years of engagement, but the tribunal ruled that this did not accurately reflect the reality of the working situation or relationship.

Paul Holcroft, Head of Legal and Advisory at Croner, reminds that while written contracts are vitally important and form an axis to support employers, the working reality will always bear more weight when it comes to identifying status. “A written contract is vital and will usually be strong evidence that the organisation is following correct procedure,” Paul says. “However, if the written clauses are not reflected in reality, the contract is little more than a piece of paper, and will count for little in a court or tribunal in the event of a claim. “The gig economy has attracted a significant amount of attention recently.

The CIPD’s ‘To gig or not to gig’ report highlighted confusion among gig economy workers, and the volume of tribunal cases highlight confusion among firms and employers who are engaging those workers. “All of the recent reports and rulings surrounding the gig economy are giving the same clear message: organisations need to take action now. “If there is any confusion or doubt about status, or the working relationship between two parties, steps should definitely be taken before repercussions occur.

“Reportedly, Mr Boxer didn’t query his contract as he felt it wouldn’t have made a difference and that he would’ve been laughed at if he had challenged the clauses within it. Employers should take this on board, and proactively ensure that a) working status is clear among staff, and b) they are approachable, should any of their workforce feel otherwise.”

Mr Boxer argued that he was a “worker” during his time at Excel, as defined by the Employment Rights Act.  Under various enactments workers are entitled to basic rights including holiday pay and the national minimum wage.

Mr Boxer’s claim was backed by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). Download of free employment status factsheet here for a clear explanation of worker, employee and self-employed, or call 0844 561 8107 for free initial advice.

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Model Apprenticeship Agreement

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Model Apprenticeship Agreement

    Read more
  • Sample COSHH Assessment Record

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Sample COSHH Assessment Record

    Read more
  • Return to Work Interview Form

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Return to Work Interview Form

    Read more
  • BLOG

    Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls in th...

    Whether your staff is in an office or on a construction site, every workplace ha...

    Read more
  • BLOG

    Daylight Saving Time: The Implication...

    Daylight Saving Time is coming to an end on Sunday 27 October, with the clocks g...

    Read more
  • BLOG

    Top Tips to De-escalate Conflict

    Conflict can take many forms. Whatever the nature of the conflict, it's in your...

    Read more
  • REC

    CASE STUDY

    REC

    The events are brilliant. Amanda Chadwick, one of the expert speakers, is a very

    Read more
  • Grantley Hall

    CASE STUDY

    Grantley Hall

    Whenever we have a sensitive issue - sometimes involving individuals with protec

    Read more
  • Lady Heyes Holiday Park

    CASE STUDY

    Lady Heyes Holiday Park

    Overall it's definitely had a noticeable impact on the business and how I perfor

    Read more

Do you have any questions?

Get a free callback from one of our regional experts today