Emergency couriers are ‘Employees’

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Emergency couriers are ‘Employees’

Emergency couriers are ‘Employees’

Couriers who deliver emergency blood supplies are now to be legally classed as employees following a case brought by a group of individuals, against their employer, The Doctors Laboratory (“the DL”).

The DL admitted in a similar dispute last year that self-employed van drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists who were engaged by the DL, were in fact workers. Employee status of emergency couriers now means that they are entitled to a whole range of employment rights, including, but not limited to, maternity and paternity leave and sick pay..

The settlement agreement reached between the employees and the DL remains confidential but a spokesperson from the DL stated that “…we are pleased to have achieved a satisfactory settlement with the individuals concerned and to date have received no further claims.”

This is the latest case following a string of cases where self employed individuals have been proven to be ‘workers’, and ‘workers’ have been proven to be ‘employees’.

In 2017 the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ for the purposes of their claims under the Employment Rights Act 1996, Working Time Regulations 1998 and the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. Uber drivers are now entitled to basic employment rights, including national minimum wage and paid annual leave. It is highly likely that Uber will appeal the EAT decision and potentially seek to take the case straight to the Supreme Court. If they do, the case will be heard in conjunction with the Pimlico Plumbers case, which also deals with this issue.

A spokesperson for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain commented that this case “goes to show that companies are simply choosing to unlawfully deprive people of their rights and it’s only when they are called out on it that things change”.

If you would like further information on this topic, you can contact Millie Kempley or another member of the employment team on 0345 070 6000.