Following in the trail of the decision that Uber drivers were
workers and were entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage it
is no surprise that an employment tribunal reached a similar
conclusion in a case brought by a cycle courier claiming that she
was entitled to holiday pay.
Ms Dewhurst was a cycle courier for CitySprint, which engages
3,200 self-employed couriers in Great Britain. She worked around 4
days per week in London, carrying out a series of courier jobs,
wearing CitySprint uniform. Her contract stated that she was a
self-employed contractor. However, CitySprint:
allocates courier jobs via a
centralised tracking system; and controllers and couriers remain in
contact via radio and mobile phones, once the courier logs on to
the tracking system.
states that it pays couriers are
'per job' but in fact couriers receive payment in arrears
on a weekly basis, without having to submit an invoice for the jobs
that they had completed.
specifies that couriers are not
obliged to provide work; and if the courier does not work, then
they will not be paid.
allows couriers to send substitutes,
but in reality, the restrictions imposed are such that a substitute
could really only be another CitySprint courier, rather than
someone of the courier's own choosing.
takes couriers through a rudimentary
disciplinary process if they are rude to customers and ultimately
couriers can be removed and replaced.
decides if couriers can go home: when
Ms Dewhurst wanted to finish early because she was feeling unwell,
she was told she could not do so because no-one else could be found
to cover a job.
The employment tribunal considered all of these factors. Rather
than rely on what the contract said, they looked at the reality of
the situation. Having done so, the tribunal thought that it was
clear that Ms Dewhurst was in fact, integrated into
The employment tribunal concluded that when CitySprint said that
their couriers 'make their services' available to them,
this was 'window dressing' and that Ms Dewhurst was in fact
a worker, who worked during the hours that she was logged on to the
CitySprint system (rather than by reference to the days that she
worked). The employment tribunal awarded her two days holiday pay.
The tribunal emphasised some key factors, to take note of,
including that Ms Dewhurst:
was both economically and
organisationally dependant on CitySprint, and was working for them
rather than for herself;
lacked autonomy to determine the
manner in which she performed services and had no chance to dictate
the terms; and
was not providing services to anyone
It is not difficult to imagine this decision will be replicated
and that companies such as Deliveroo and AddisonLee will face
difficulties in defending the claims being brought against them
about worker status.
The Court of Appeal has held that where a contract of employment lacks a provision for when notice of termination takes effect, it is effective from when the employee personally takes delivery of the letter containing notice.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).