Deliveroo case highlights the need for a statutory definition of self-employment


The government should write into statute a positive definition of self-employment to provide clarity on who does and does not work for themselves, IPSE has today said in the wake of Deliveroo’s High Court defeat.

The call follows a decision which confirmed that the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had been successful in the first stage of overturning a ruling over the status of those working for the delivery firm.

IPSE’s Director of Policy Simon McVicker commented: “The fact that this decision comes only months after the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled in favour of Deliveroo emphasises the uncertainty and makes the need for a statutory definition of self-employment crystal clear.

“It is unacceptable that policymakers are relying on costly, time-consuming court cases as the first port of call in determining employment status. IPSE has long asserted that there is a fundamental lack of clarity about what does and doesn’t constitute self-employment. This confusion hurts both the self-employed and those looking to engage them.

“That’s why we want to see the government write into statute a positive definition of self-employment. We believe this definition should consider four key tenets: having autonomy in their work, having control over their working arrangements, taking on business risk and the level of independence from clients.

“Disappointingly, the government doesn’t appear to support this idea, but this case – just days after Pimlico Plumbers were defeated in the Supreme Court – demonstrates just how beneficial a positive definition would be.”