In a recent ruling by the Employment Tribunal, Hermes couriers have been deemed to be workers. This is the latest in a long line of decisions about the gig economy, including Pimlico Plumbers, Uber, Citysprint and Deliveroo, in which the general trend has been that those working in the gig economy have been found to have greater rights than the company may have envisaged.
A group of 65 couriers brought the case against Hermes, seeking to be treated as workers instead of independent contractors, as claimed by Hermes. Workers are entitled to a number of rights, including the right to be paid the national minimum wage, receive holiday pay and reclaim unlawful deductions from their wages.
The decision affects not only the successful Claimants, but also, according to the GMB, the 14,500 Hermes couriers engaged under the same contract. The broader impact on companies engaging those in the gig economy will continue to encourage companies to be cautious about treating workers as independent contractors. The clear message from Courts and Tribunals is that contractual wording alone will not suffice to avoid findings of worker (or employee) status.
Hermes have indicated that they are likely to appeal the decision and we will keep you updated on any further developments.