Pimlico Plumbers save MILLIONS on holiday pay

by Jacqueline McGuigan

Pimlico Plumbers save MILLIONS on holiday pay

by Jacqueline McGuigan
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Latest: Feb. 4, 2022

Gary Smith secures another huge victory

Dear Backers,

In Tuesday’s judgment, after 11 long years of seeking justice through the courts against Pimlico Plumbers mischaracterisation of his employment status, Gary Smith finally wins his …

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Brief History

After a very long legal battle about his employment status, in 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that Gary Smith was a worker and entitled to workers' rights.

Smith, who brought his claim for holiday pay rights in 2011, has endured a 10-year legal battle which has seen him visit the Court of Appeal twice and the Supreme Court once.

He is claiming holiday pay rights over a 6-year period which he values at £76,000.

Where We Are At Now

Smith is heading back to the Court of Appeal on 7 December 2021 because the Employment Tribunal ruled that he could not bring his claim for holiday pay as it was too late. This is because he has been caught up in a system that mislabelled him as self-employed, denying his right to holiday pay.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the Tribunal's decision and re-stated that Smith had not filed his claim for backdated holiday pay quickly enough. Under the tribunal rules, he should have made a claim for missed pay within three months of each holiday period taken. We dispute this ruling.

Smith's appeal will change the law again. Workers like Smith should not be denied crucial employment rights just because they were given the wrong label. This case is critical to holding Pimlico Plumbers accountable and all businesses with sham contracts, namely those within the gig economy. 

The gig economy accounts for 4.5m people in England and Wales, meaning this appeal will clarify the rights of millions of workers.

We want to give a voice to the one in seven working-age adults who have worked a gig job. To the everyday worker who faces the possibility of being exploited by the big bosses. To the ordinary person who works tirelessly to support their family. 

Details of Lawyers

We are crowdfunding to pay for legal representation at the Court of Appeal. Smith's case may even go back to the Supreme Court.

A top team of lawyers have been instructed, namely, Jacqueline McGuigan, Solicitor from TMP Solicitors who has represented Smith from the beginning www.tmpsol.com. Counsel Michael Ford QC here, Caspar Glyn QC here and David Stephenson here. Together they make a formidable team.

We need your help to ensure that the lawyers are properly compensated for their pioneering work. This journey began ten years ago and is still not finished.

Please help all self-employed gig economy workers in the UK get employment rights and proper recognition for the essential work they do to keep this nation going. 

Update 1

Jacqueline McGuigan

Feb. 4, 2022

Gary Smith secures another huge victory

Dear Backers,

In Tuesday’s judgment, after 11 long years of seeking justice through the courts against Pimlico Plumbers mischaracterisation of his employment status, Gary Smith finally wins his holiday pay claim in the Court of Appeal.

Gary Smith’s epic battle for worker’s right saw him first succeed in the Supreme Court in 2018 when it upheld the employment tribunal’s judgment that he was a worker for Pimlico Plumbers and not an independent contractor running his own business. This ‘win’ meant that Gary Smith had the legal right to pursue a holiday claim against Pimlico Plumbers. However, nothing is straightforward in this case and Pimlico Plumbers continued to put up one almighty fight to try and deny Gary Smith’s holiday pay claim saying, ironically, it was brought too late. The Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with Pimlico Plumbers.

Enter the Court of Appeal and on 7 December 2021 after almost two days of legal argument, Gary Smith’s claim for holiday pay was vindicated.

As a result of Tuesday’s hugely important decision for gig economy workers, the Court of Appeal said that Smith could recover compensation for unpaid leave he took in the past. Michael Ford QC of Old Square Chambers who acted for Smith highlights this importance by stating that “workers could…carry over the untaken portion of four weeks’ leave and obtain full compensation for it on termination; now they can carry over taken leave as well”.

Adhering to EU law principles on the importance of taking paid leave, the Court of Appeal agreed with Smith that Pimlico Plumbers should have paid him for holidays when he took it. That failure to pay meant that Smith could carry over any unpaid leave and claim the payment on termination. Smith is now entitled to up to 24 weeks’ pay, equivalent to 4 weeks leave for every year worked. With unpaid leave going back to 2005, the interest on top will be significant.

This is great news, not just for Smith but for other workers who find themselves in the same position as him. No longer can employers hide behind contracts that deny employment status or deny the right to paid leave. There is now a significant financial risk that if the employer wrongly denies worker status, they will face holiday pay claims from their workers going back many years without a back stop. There is no defence to not paying holiday pay, so this judgment achieves employment protection, for the often-exploited worker, that the UK Working Time Regulations (as currently drafted) did not.

Gary Smith says: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the appeal. I would like to thank the legal team and everybody who was involved for their magnificent efforts…”

A big ‘shout out’ to the brilliant legal team of Michael Ford QC, Caspar Glyn QC, David Stephenson, and Jacqueline McGuigan for fearlessly protecting employment rights.

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