Extension of health & safety protection to workers


UK employment law recognises 3 separate categories of individuals in terms of employment rights; employees, who have the full range of rights; self-employed independent contractors, who have few rights and the intermediate category of ‘workers’ who have some rights but not the full suite of rights afforded to employees.

‘Workers’ typically (although not exclusively) work in the gig economy. One of the rights which employees have (but workers do not) is the right not be subjected to a detriment for leaving or refusing to return to their workplace in circumstances of danger which they reasonably believe to be serious and imminent, or for taking steps to protect themselves.

At the end of 2020, the High Court held that confining such protection to employees was a breach of the EU Health & Safety Framework Directive (No.89/391). It therefore issued a declaration that the UK had failed to properly transpose the Directive into UK law. This has effectively forced on the Government the need to change the law.

Find out more in our latest update from Employment Law Principal, Jon Taylor: https://bit.ly/3qWRuCg