Supreme Court: meal delivery drivers Deliveroo were employees

March 27, 2023

Deliveroo’s meal delivery drivers were contracted on the basis of an employment contract. That is the opinion of the Supreme Court, in line with the earlier judgment by the Court of Appeals Amsterdam and the conclusion of AG De Bock last summer. They also came to the conclusion that the meal delivery drivers are Deliveroo employees, despite the fact that contracts for services had been concluded.

According to the Supreme Court, whether there is an employment contract depends on all the circumstances of the case. Specifically in the Deliveroo case, the meal delivery drivers had the freedom to determine when they wanted to work and be replaced. But the Court ruled previously that the importance of the actual replacement of a meal delivery driver was minimal. The Supreme Court has upheld this conclusion.

The Supreme Court leaves it to the legislator to determine whether the embedding of the work in the organization is of importance in order for it to be regarded as an employment contract. The Supreme Court also leaves a legal presumption of employment that is dependent on remuneration to the legislator.

What does this mean for the legislation regarding self-employed persons?

The legislation regarding self-employed contractors is still evolving. Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Karien van Gennip and Deputy Minister Marnix van Rij previously announced that the government has plans to increase enforcement again and provide greater clarification about the concept of ‘working in the service of’ (authority). This judgment will undoubtedly play a role in that.

For example, the progress letter on the legislation regarding self-employed contractors already stated that ‘organizational embedding’ is extremely important. This can have major consequences for self-employed persons and their hirers.

1 January 2025

Despite the fact that the current legislation regarding self-employed contractors will not be enforced until 1 January 2025 at the latest, it is important to assess the working relationship. We will of course be happy to help verify whether a working relationship (potentially) qualifies as an (deemed) employment relationship and/or set up and improve internal processes for hiring self-employed persons in order to avoid additional wage tax and social security contributions assessments.

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