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Government must ‘urgently step in’ to write self-employment definition following Addison Lee ruling

The Government must ‘urgently step in’ to write into law a clear definition of self-employment, says workers’ union following Addison Lee ruling.

Last month the Court of Appeal ruled that private hire operator Addison Lee would not be permitted to appeal an Employment Tribunal decision that found drivers entitled to workers’ rights.

The decision was made in light of the recent Supreme Court judgment stating that Uber drivers are entitled to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

Addison Lee’s appeal to the Court of Appeal had been put on hold in anticipation of the Supreme Court judgment.

Already, an Employment Tribunal in 2017 had found that a group of Addison Lee drivers were workers. This was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2018.

IPSE (Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) said the latest development in the Addison Lee worker rights case is another sign after the Uber judgment that “government must urgently step in on the confusion in the gig economy”.

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE, said: “The Addison Lee judgement is yet another sign after the Uber case that the Government must urgently step in on the confusion in the gig economy. The gig economy is a tangled mix not only of people who should truly be categorised as workers, but also a very large number of legitimately self-employed people who rely on the flexibility that freelancing offers.

“Both to restore the rights of exploited workers and also to secure freedom and flexibility for legitimately self-employed people, we urge the government to write into law a clear definition of self-employment. This is the true source of the confusion in the gig economy: that while there is a definition of employee and worker status in UK law, there is still no clear definition of who exactly is self-employed. We cannot continue in a situation where the only way to define self-employment is through court case after court case.”

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