UK Court rules in landmark gig economy case

LONDON — A London plumber who claimed he was unfairly dismissed after years of working as a contractor has won a court ruling giving him employment rights, in a case seen as a key test of labor rules in the so-called gig economy.

Britain’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court saying that Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers full-time for six years, was entitled to rights such as sick pay.

Gary Smith sought to reduce his hours following a heart attack, while the company argued he wasn’t entitled to such protection because he was a self-employed contractor.

The case has significant implications for the estimated 100,000 independent contractors in Britain’s gig economy, where people work job-to-job with little security and few employment rights.

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