Deliveroo riders say that they are employees rather than self-employed contractors and are therefore entitled to employment rights. The riders are seeking compensation for not receiving holiday pay and for being paid wages below the legal minimum for employees. Deliveroo riders are recruited by the company, following an interview, a trial shift and online tests. They are required to wear Deliveroo-branded uniform and are given very specific instructions about how and where they work. The riders are also subject to performance reviews and their terms and rate of pay are determined by Deliveroo.
The Deliveroo riders have approached employment arbitration body ACAS and a formal claim is expected to follow if no settlement can be reached between the riders and Deliveroo within a month.
The Deliveroo legal action is the latest challenge to the so-called ‘gig economy’ apps and follows successful Employment Tribunal cases brought by cycle couriers at CitySprint, Excel and also drivers for the Uber taxi app. In the Uber case, drivers won the rights to minimum wage and holiday pay after an Employment Tribunal ruled that they are ‘workers’ rather than self-employed contractors.
The rise of technology companies using self-employed workers has raised concerns about radical changes in employment practices. The Government has recently announced a six-month review of modern working practices and HMRC is also in the process of setting up a new unit to investigate such companies.
If you think that this might affect your business and would like to discuss the changes in employment practices in this area, please contact a member of the Employment Team.