Delivery drivers Deliveroo were employees, Supreme Court ruled

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Delivery drivers Deliveroo were employees, Supreme Court ruled

The Supreme Court has ruled that Deliveroo deliverers were not independent entrepreneurs, but employees. Although Deliveroo itself has already left the Netherlands, the ruling could have a significant impact on other companies that use similar constructions.

The ruling will be particularly important for all companies that work with freelancers, says professor of employment law at the University of Amsterdam Evert Verhulp. ‘It is in fact about bogus self-employment, the question is whether people who work as self-employed persons are not actually employed. At that moment you have other rights and obligations and you incur costs in a different way.’

‘We are moving a little more towards the employment contract’

Evert Verhulp, professor of employment law at the University of Amsterdam

Implications

The ruling of the Supreme Court will have consequences for companies in, for example, healthcare and education, where more and more self-employed people have been working in recent years. According to Verhulp, it is difficult to indicate exactly where the boundary between employees and the self-employed lies. ‘The Advocate General has advised that someone who is embedded in the client’s organization also has an employment contract. It is actually about how the outside world looks at someone who does the work. When you are lying in a hospital bed, as a patient you do not distinguish between a salaried nurse and a self-employed person. But both are probably organizationally embedded, and then the thought is that both must be employed.’

It remains to be seen what the direct impact of the ruling will be, since the government has announced that it will not check for bogus self-employment until 2025. ‘But we are moving a little more towards the employment contract, and we are now certain of a number of groups of self-employed people that we have to give them an employment contract.’

The Supreme Court has ruled that Deliveroo deliverers were not independent entrepreneurs, but employees. Although Deliveroo itself has already left the Netherlands, the ruling could have a significant impact on other companies that use similar constructions. (ANP / Abaca Press)

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