Official statement on the Pimlico Plumbers case

13 June 2018

Earlier today we heard the Supreme Court has upheld the Appeals Tribunal’s decision that a plumber, Gary Smith, engaged with Pimlico Plumbers was in fact a ‘worker’ not a self-employed sub-contractor, as was the original intention of both parties.

With the widespread growth and popularity of self-employment within the UK, there will no doubt be many businesses who currently benefit from the use of skilled, self-employed micro businesses that will not be entirely clear on how they should or shouldn’t be treating self-employed sub-contractors or suppliers. This decision will bring some welcome clarity to some of the more grey areas of employment status.

Whilst they’ve acknowledged there were many features of Mr Smith’s relationship with Pimlico that were indicative of self-employment the Supreme Court has satisfied itself, taking into consideration all of the evidence, that he should be treated as a worker; subject to PAYE deductions for Tax and National Insurance, holiday pay and certain other rights and conditions which are closer to employment. Now this point has been established, the next stage of this case will be for it to go back to the Tribunal to assess Mr Smith’s original issues, which include discrimination and holiday pay.

Following this important decision, IN-SYNC are going to be working closely with our clients over the next few weeks and months to assess and mitigate any potential risks to ensure that businesses can continue to access the skills and experience they need from independent contractors, freelancers and flexible workers.