We recently reported that a plumber from Kent named Gary Smith had won his claim at the Supreme Court, establishing that he was not self-employed but was instead a worker and was therefore entitled to associated rights, most significantly, in this case, holiday pay. Following the Supreme Court ruling, Mr Smith’s claim continued in the Employment Tribunal in Croydon, where Mr Smith claimed that he was entitled to £74,000 in holiday pay. The Employment Tribunal however ruled that Mr Smith was not entitled to holiday pay because he had not filed his holiday pay claim in time.
Mr Smith worked for Pimlico Plumbers for six years until 2011. In accordance with the Working Time Regulations 1998, Mr Smith should have filed his holiday pay claim within three months of each holiday pay period dating back to 2005. Mr Smith did not file his holiday pay claims in time and therefore the Employment Tribunal held that he was not entitled to pursue these claims before the Employment Tribunal. Mr Smith has confirmed that he will appeal the decision on the basis that the Working Time Regulations were drafted for individuals who know they have rights under the Regulations. Mr Smith did not believe at the time that he was a worker and instead thought that he was self-employed and therefore did not consider that he may be able to pursue his rights under the Working Time Regulations until it was too late. This case and any subsequent appeal has wide-ranging effects for a significant number of individuals claiming worker status and associated rights in the so-called gig economy.