Another case on the employment status of workers this week is the Leeds Employment Tribunal decision of Leyland and others v Hermes Parcelnet Ltd ET/1800575/2017.
The case follows the recent Supreme Court case involving Pimlico Plumbers that ruled the plumbers concerned were workers not self-employed contractors.
In this latest case the Employment Tribunal found that the couriers were under an obligation to perform services personally and that they were controlled by Hermes. According to the Tribunal it was a “dependent work relationship”. There was a limited right for the couriers to provide a substitute. However, this either had to be someone already on the books of Hermes (known as a ‘cover’) or someone of the courier’s choice (known as ‘substitution’ or a ‘substitute’). Hermes reserved the right to veto the appointment of any ‘substitute’ and the couriers were under an obligation to ensure a certain standard of personal service in relation to the substitution.
Taking all the factors into account, the terms of the contract and the way in which the parties operated in practice pointed overwhelmingly to the fact that these are contracts that fall within the field of dependent work relationships. The Hermes couriers were required to perform the work personally and Hermes was not a client of a business undertaking of theirs. They were, therefore, workers and not self-employed contractors.