In the previous instalment of our employment bulletin, we discussed the finding that a group of Deliveroo riders could not be recognised as ‘workers’ and thus benefit from entitlements such as holiday pay and entitlement to the National Living Wage because they were not required to provide their services personally. This article can be found here.
There is now another addition to the saga of cases deliberating on worker status. In Stuart Delivery Ltd v Augustine, the Court of Appeal considered whether delivery drivers undertook to perform work personally. The court had to consider whether the ability of drivers to offer delivery slots to others via an app meant that personal service was not required. The driver offering the slot had no control over who could take the slot, and if the slot was not taken, the driver would either have to work the slot or would be penalised for missing it.
The Court of Appeal found that this did not amount to a removal of personal service as the system was intended to ensure that drivers did carry out their work during the slots they had signed up for. The drivers were therefore considered workers under section 230 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This judgment displays that the question of personal service will not always be overcome by a substitution option and the extent and nature of any substitution procedure will be an important consideration.