The Employment Status Of Workers Essay

The Employment Status Of Workers Essay

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It is certainly true that the current law defining the employment status of ‘workers’ is uncertain, as it is wholly inflexible to deal effectively with cases of non-standard forms of employment, atypical workers, for example: agency workers, part-time workers, fixed-term workers, as required workers and homeworkers. Thus, reform is necessary to redress the concerns of lack of legal certainty in relation to this area of the law.
This essay will argue that the concept of ‘worker’ defined under section 230 of the Employment Rights Act (“ERA”) 1996 is board, but due to undefined scope of section 230(3) of ERA 1996, employment tribunals and the courts have adapted a rigid approach in their interpretation; that there is a ‘high degree of legal uncertainty’ as established in this area of law; that the law does not adequately deal with non-standard forms of ‘workers’; present proposals for reform by the UK Parliament on the interpretation and application of law at common; and finally provide a conclusion for the arguments put forth.
THE CURRENT STATE OF THE LAW
Firstly, employment tribunals and the courts have interpreted the concept of ‘workers’ too narrowly, by limiting the common law interpretation of ‘workers’ under section 230(3) of the ERA 1996 and rights conferred on workers. Under section 230(3) ERA 1996, ‘worker’ is defined as “an individual who has entered into work: under a contract of employment, or any other contract express or implied… to do or perform personally any work or services for another party…” This definition clearly encompasses protection of a minimum standard of rights to some workers beyond employees but who are not independent contractors. However, in addition to the definition provided by statue, the judg...


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...the inflexible legal criteria used by the judiciary are too vague to deal with non-standard forms of employment status such as atypical workers, working on a flexible basis, who do not work for a single employer on a continuous indefinite basis.
For example, in the seminal case of Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd, a case involving an agency worker, the court held that the claimant was not eligible because based on their discussion of legal criteria, a contract of service with the employment agency could not be established so her employment status was undetermined. In other words, since her claim did not full-fil the rigid legal criteria necessary to establish an ‘employee and employer relationship’, they could not determine her employment status, and therefore, she was not entitled to receive the benefits of unfair dismissal pursuant to section 94(1) ERA 1996.

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