Court Case Has Wider Implications for Auto Enrolment

14 June 2018

Court Case Has Wider Implications for Auto Enrolment Following a Supreme Court ruling against Pimlico Plumbers over whether the workforce is 'independent contractors' or 'self-employed' leading to AE entitlements, The Pensions Regulator has said that it will consider the implications and liaise with the company in question.

The ruling follows a case brought by Gary Smith against the company, with Mr Smith claiming that he was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed (as well as other claims) when Pimlico Plumbers sacked him in 2011.

The ruling will have a wider effect on the gig economy and pension sector, with each company now likely needing to review the exact nature of its relationship with labourers to understand whether the judgment applies to them. It could potentially lead to a huge amount of gig economy workers being brought under the auto enrolment regime, swelling the numbers of those already auto enrolled to over 10 million people.

"We will study the Supreme Court's judgment and consider its implications," said a spokesperson for The Pensions Regulator.

"Employers have a duty to automatically enrol qualifying workers into a workplace pension scheme, and we carry out checks to ensure employers are giving their staff the pensions they are entitled to."

"We will continue to liaise with Pimlico Plumbers for information about its workforce and pension arrangements so we can assess whether it is compliant with its automatic enrolment duties."

Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins was outraged at the decision.

"The shame of all this is that is generally accepted that current employment law is not fit for purpose and needs to be changed," he said. "But when it's put to the test in our highest court there isn't even the slightest suggestion there is a problem that needs to be addressed."

"The five judges had the opportunity to drag our outdated employment law into the 21st Century, but instead they bottled the decision, and as a result of thousands of companies across the UK, who use contractors in an honest and responsible way, remain exposed to huge potential claims in the future."

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      Chris was Head of Mass Markets at Smart Pension. Chris served as Smart Pension's Head of Mass Markets from June 2016 to September 20…