According to the Court of Amsterdam, food delivery persons are not self-employed. Instead, they are employees and thus entitled to an employment contract. The court ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by trade union FNV in 2018 against Deliveroo. The food delivery persons had started working for Deliveroo as employees, but by the end of 2017 the organization told the media they would only continue to work with freelancers. The change meant that all delivery persons how had to register themselves with the Chamber of Commerce and were required to have a VAT identification number (‘BTW-nummer’ in Dutch).
In November 2020, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands already ruled that the intent of the respective party/parties is not relevant in the question whether or not an agreement is an employment contract. Instead, what is relevant is how the agreement is implemented in practice. This is exactly what the Court of Amsterdam looked at. Given the facts, only the relatively great freedom of the delivery persons to choose when they wanted to work would be indicative of self-employment. All other facts, including the way they were paid, the exercised authority, the fact employees worked fixed hours each month (with legal presumption), were rather indicative of an employment relationship. The court’s ruling also includes the fact that, given the height of income (€ 11 to € 13 per hour), the delivery persons weren’t able to take any arrangements against illness, work disability and unemployment.
According to trade union FNV, the ruling means that delivery persons can demand Deliveroo to give them an employment contract, including all respective rights. Deliveroo has appealed in cassation to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the topic is to be continued.