KBB retailers risk being hit by employment tribunals following the Supreme Court's ruling on Uber drivers' status, the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has warned. The ruling has prompted the BiKBBI to publish a briefing paper highlighting the issue, and calling on retailers to check their relationships with installers, and if necessary adapt their working practices to avoid the possibility of employment tribunals.
The BiKBBI’s briefing paper highlights how the Uber ruling means that the “totality of the relationship between businesses and subcontractors” will be looked at in determining employment status, following the ruling, rather than just the specific contractual terms. It warns that “if businesses are recognised as having an undue level of control over how the subcontractor goes about their work and allows no room for negotiation over what they are paid, they are likely to be classified as employers and carry all of the obligations that go along with it.”
Damian Walters, chief executive of BiKBBI, said: “The Uber ruling is a potential game changer for the home improvement industry and many retailers will need to quickly adapt how they work with their installers before being forced to do so in ways that may hurt their businesses."
To avoid the risk, the BiKBBI suggests that retailers can either formally agree terms of employment with installers; adapt their working model so that they do not meet the criteria for employment status; or consider using a third party platform such as Protect My Install, so they no longer have a direct relationship with subcontracted installers.
Walters added: “Subcontracting works for retailers who are able to call on a flexible, skilled workforce, and for installers who value the independence of self employment alongside the certainty of regular work. However, the debate about ‘gig economy’ working will inevitably reach our industry soon. It’s absolutely vital to get in front of this by adopting innovative new working models that ensure installers are treated fairly and retailers can most effectively serve their customers.”