EMPLOYMENT LAW -Discuss the significance of a determination at law that an individual is a worker, rather than an employee, and analyse the extent to which recent cases and government policy have ensured that the current law relating to employment status is satisfactory
Definition of Employee and Worker
An employee is defined in s 230(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) as “an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment.” The term ‘worker,’ on the other hand, is broader and encompasses individuals who are not employees but provide services personally under a contract. Section 230(3) of the ERA defines a worker as “an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment or any other contract whereby he undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client o
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Significance of Employment Status Determination
The determination of an individual’s employment status is significant as it determines the extent of their legal protections and entitlements. Employees are entitled to a range of statutory rights, including protection against unfair dismissal, the right to a minimum notice period, and the right to claim redundancy pay. Employees are also entitled to a minimum wage, paid holiday leave, and statutory sick pay.
Workers, on the other hand, have fewer protections than employees, but are still entitled to certain basic rights, such as the right to the national minimum wage, rest breaks, and protection from discrimination. They are also entitled to paid annual leave and are protected from unlawful deductions from wages.
The distinction between an employee and a worker has significant financial implications for the individual, as well as for the employer. For example, an employer is not required to provide a worker with employment protection rights, such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed, but must provide an employee with these rights. This can impact the amount of compensation that an individual can claim in the event of an unlawful termination of their contract.
In addition, the determination of an individual’s employment status has wider implications for society as a whole. The growth in the use of self-employed individuals and those on zero-hours contracts has led to concerns about job security and the exploitation of workers. The government and courts have therefore taken steps to clarify the law relating to employment status and to ensure that individuals are not deprived of their legal rights through misclassification.
Recent Cases and Government Policy
The law relating to employment status has been subject to a great deal of litigation in recent years, with a number of high-profile cases being heard by the courts. One such case was Uber BV v Aslam  EWCA Civ 2748, in which the court held that Uber drivers were workers rather than self-employed contractors. The court found that the drivers were not operating as independent businesses but were providing services as part of Uber’s business model. As workers, the drivers were entitled to certain employment protections, including the national minimum wage and paid holiday leave.
Another important case was Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith  UKSC 29, in which the Supreme Court held that a plumber who had been engaged as a self-employed