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My daughter has been a self-employed courier with myHermes for 10 years and has an exemplary record, having by far...

Hi...my daughter has been a...
Hi...my daughter has been a self-employed courier with myHermes for 10 years and has an exemplary record, having by far exceeded her targets month on month, year on year throughout that time. On Saturday, she received an answerphone message from her line-manager, saying that her contract had been terminated and that her round was to be taken over by a woman who has been temp. cover up until now. She was given no prior notice of this and has not committed any breaches or wrong doing. This is her only form of income. What is your advice, please?
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
6/9/2014
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,147
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did she have a contract of employment and if so, was there a notice period for termination mentioned in there?

Please note I am in tribunal today so may not respond until later in the day, thank you

Customer:

She does have a contract which states clearly that she is engaged on a self-employed basis. There is no mention anywhere about notice of termination.

Ben Jones :

Hi, thanks for your patience. Under law, only employees are entitled to receive a minimum notice period in the event that their employment is terminated by their employer. The self-employed do not have the legal right to minimum notice periods on termination. In addition they are not protected against unfair dismissal, meaning the employee can dismiss at any time and without having to hoe there was a fair reason for dismissal.


 


Whether a self employed worker is entitled to a notice period will depend on their contract. If there is a termination clause that specifies a notice period on termination, the employer would be expected to give that notice if they wish to end the employment relationship.


 


However, it is often the case that no written contract exists, or there is no notice clause in it. In such situations, the worker can still expect a 'reasonable' notice period to have their employment terminated. This is because even in the absence of a written contract they will be working under an implied common law contract and to terminate such a contract a reasonable notice period is required. The only exception is if the contract was terminated because of gross misconduct, that is any misconduct serious enough to justify the employment relationship terminating immediately.


 


What is a reasonable notice period will vary greatly and will depend on the individual circumstances, industry practices, length of employment, frequency of payment, etc. There are far too many variables to consider, which means it is usually impossible to give a precise indication as to what would be reasonable in each case. It is therefore down to the courts to make that decision. The worker can nevertheless raise this issue with the employer and attempt to negotiate a reasonable notice period with them, a period that they will both be happy to accept.


 


Hope this clarifies your position?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer:

Hi Ben...thank you for your timely response. My daughter has spoken to her line-manager today to try to establish what has gone wrong. Some months ago...before this guy took over, she queried one postal code, which was clearly outside of her designated delivery areas. Her then line-manager referred it to Head Office to make a decision on the matter and they agreed that because 2 other couriers already crossed through this area, the post code was not my daughters but one of those other two. It was at this stage that the line-managers changed and the out going one told my sister that the decision had been made but it was the incoming one who would have to sort the logistics out as she was leaving. Since then, this same post code has been sent through to her and she has sent the parcels back marked 'Not my postcode'. The line manager who has terminated her service has used this 'not delivery the service contracted' as his reason for replacing her, yet tonight, she has gone on-line to look at her weekly returns and she...as ever...is showing 100%. Does this change anything? Sadly, she has none of this in writing but it makes sense to question whether she would really jeopardise her employment for the sake of one irregular parcel delivery.

Ben Jones :

Hello, from a legal perspective this unfortunately does not change her rights. She is still not protected against unfair dismissal, even if the reason for termination is petty or even inaccurate. The key is that they can terminate her employment at any time because she is simply not guaranteed a job - it is one of the pitfalls of being self employed. As mentioned she is entitled to a contractual or reasonable notice period for the actual termination but it would not be possible to challenge the actual dismissal. I appreciate it may not be the news you were hoping for but hope it clarifies matters for you somewhat?

Customer:

Yes...it does, thank you Ben. Sorry that for some reason I suddenly referred to my sister when it was my daughter I was discussing but I hope this didn't confuse you too much...the dementia is obviously more advanced than I had realized!! Thanks for your help.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,147
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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