Holiday pay and worker status

B v Yeovil Delivery Network Limited

The Watford Employment Tribunal referred this case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) who have given a preliminary ruling.

The case was a further analysis in relation to the gig economy involving a neighbourhood parcel delivery courier who worked exclusively for Yodel. As often in these cases, the question was whether or not the worker was genuinely a self-employed independent contractor or a worker for the purposes of the WTD (and thereby entitled to certain statutory rights, not least paid holiday).

On the facts of the case the “worker” had certain powers:

  1. to provide his services to third parties including direct competitors.
  2. to fix his hours of work (within certain constraints) but related to his own personal needs rather than solely the interests of the supposed employer.
  3. to use some contractors and substitutes to perform the services.
  4. a right to refuse jobs offered by the supposed employer.

These factors (provided they weren’t a sham) suggested that it was not possible to establish a relationship of subordination and therefore a relationship was not one of worker but of an independent contractor.


This case follows various other high-profile cases in the last few years looking at the gig economy and the question of employment status, which is long due for an overhaul in the UK. It re-establishes the point that whilst the Courts and Tribunals are often keen to find worker or employee status to protect a worker, all cases do depend on their facts and here the facts suggested independent contractor status.