The Gig Economy – Shifting Sands in Employment Status

Simon Gorham and Aron Joy of Weil, Gotshal & Manges examine the challenges for organisations in the gig economy in assigning individuals the correct employment status.

Broadly speaking, an individual working in the UK can be categorised as either:

  • An employee.
  • A worker.
  • A self-employed person (often referred to as a consultant or independent contractor).

How these different categories are defined, what their defining characteristics are and what rights and protections are, or should be, afforded to each of these categories has been the subject of much recent debate. This debate has been sparked, in part, by the recent employment tribunal claims brought by individuals working in the so called “gig economy” (also known as the on-demand, or sharing, economy) and also by the widely reported claims that low-paid workers, particularly, but not only, those on zero-hours contracts, are being exploited and denied rights and protections that they ought to enjoy. Read more.