Director Maximiti Limited
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Gig economy ruling - great way to strangle SMEs

13th Feb 2017
Director Maximiti Limited
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Another week , anoother "gig economy" story . This time it's the country's best known plumber up against one of his struggling workers who earned £80k a year but was not clever enough to take out a sickness policy from his gnereous earnings. Perhaps not such a common scenario but here's the bit that really really gets my goat.

The great unwashed British public love an apparent underdog story and don't let the facts get in the way. Asisde form my above point, there are many many small enterprises who rely on flexible working to survive and these tiddlers ,  and larger ones too, are the engine of our economy. Smash them and you smash UK plc.

So wherein lies the solution ? In my humble opinion there should be a dividing line between large companies and smaller ones. Larger ones can manage with less flexibility in their workforce, but if the facts on the ground are that if somebody who HMRC believes to be employed is paid a hefty premium to be "self employed" surely the remuneration that is part of that risk transfer shouts "self - employed" , but then again HMRC are as deaf as a post.

 

 

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
13th Feb 2017 12:39

He was also VAT registered!
to be fair to HMRC though, it was a court verdict brought about as the result of an employment tribunal case.

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By kaff
13th Feb 2017 19:17

Pimlico Plumbers don't seem to be a particularly small operation, judging by the numbers of staff the ET appeal Tribunal reported them having. They're large enough to have written a staff conduct manual, they just didn't appear to have familiarised themselves with the obligations imposed by the Employment Rights Act. It's not rocket science: if you're going to get other people to deliver your business for you, you need to find out how to do that legally.

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Replying to kaff:
Norman Younger
By Norman Younger
13th Feb 2017 21:38

I know they are a large pukka outfit but surely the worker was complicit as evidenced by his take home packet so why should he be the winner ?
However, the point I want to make is that there is a host of not so big businesses out there where flexible gig arrangements are mission critical for viability

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By Knight Rider
15th Feb 2017 14:24

I am not aware of the precise details of this case but it does seem that our judiciary are trying to legislate away the need for personal responsibility at the cost of what they see as those beastly employers taking advantage of poor exploited workers. Ultimately we will all bear the cost as companies seek to operate outside the UK and quality work becomes harder to obtain.
HMRC should lay down some guidelines a bit like the old badges of trade I remember from the 1980's!

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Replying to Knight Rider:
Norman Younger
By Norman Younger
15th Feb 2017 15:51

"Badges of trade" ...ah the good old days . I have not heard that expression for may a year.

Workers , whatever these are defined as, should have the option to opt out of all employee rights and become self emloyed , perhaps only in certain sectors . then they can make an informed choice.

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By stratty
17th Feb 2017 13:41

I understand that while this guy was supposedly Self Employed the contractor (Pimlico Plumbers) did not permit him to take jobs outside of that firm which was a strong element of the judgement being passed.

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Norman Younger
By Norman Younger
17th Feb 2017 15:30

If so then PP were silly , although one suspects both parties were in cahoots until it no longer suited the worker to go along.
At 80k a year one can hardly see the need for such a restrictive clause

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Norman Younger
By Norman Younger
17th Feb 2017 15:30

If so then PP were silly , although one suspects both parties were in cahoots until it no longer suited the worker to go along.
At 80k a year one can hardly see the need for such a restrictive clause

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
20th Feb 2017 22:12

What does this case have to do with Hmrc, I wasn't aware they were involved?
I am however very worried for many small contractors 'employing' self employed workers

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Replying to NH:
Norman Younger
By Norman Younger
21st Feb 2017 08:49

It must surely have a knock-on effect , one cannot imagine HMRC simply turning over the page in their morning paper and gliding to the next story

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