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Cycle courier deemed to be a ‘worker’ entitled to holiday pay

A cycle courier with a taxi firm was a 'worker' rather than a self-employed contractor and so was entitled to holiday pay.

That was the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a case involving Addison Lee Ltd and one of its riders, Mr C Gascoigne.

Addison Lee provided a taxi and courier service. Mr Gascoigne's employment contract stated that he was "an independent contractor", that nothing in the contract rendered him "an employee, worker, agent or partner" of the company and that he should not hold himself out as such.

He provided his own bike and could choose when he worked. He was paid weekly with a piece rate for each job and a fixed rate for waiting time. He paid his own tax and national insurance and was registered with HMRC as self-employed.

The company deducted an "admin fee" and a payment for insurance cover. Each courier had a company ID and an allocated call sign, and was supplied with a radio, a palmtop computer and GPS tracker.

When available for work, couriers would contact the controller by radio or phone and log on to the allocation system. The company's position was that Mr Gascoigne worked under a zero hours contract and that it had no obligation to offer him work and there was no obligation on him to accept any such offer.

The Employment Tribunal at the initial hearing referred to the contractual provision that if Mr Gascoigne was logged on to the system he was "deemed to be available and willing to provide Services".

It found that he was working under the company's direction and not "running his own business" and was subject to a "classic wage/work bargain". It held that the contract did not reflect the reality of the parties' legal relationship.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld that decision.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk

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