11.3.2024 22:16

Court: Wolt riders self-employed, not employees

The food delivery company Wolt’s riders are independently self-employed. That is the finding of the Hämeenlinna Administrative Court.

In a press release, Wolt said that the Hämeenlinna Administrative Court had confirmed the company’s view that Wolt riders are independently self-employed and not employees. Wolt said in the press release that the Administrative Court had said its reasons were that Wolt did not exercise a true supervision and direction right over riders, and that the Wolt business model offered riders extensive freedom.

“The discussion on riders’ status under labour law has gone on for almost a decade, and we’re satisfied and relieved by the Administrative Court’s ruling. Above all, what makes this ruling significant is that most riders want to be self-employed because of the freedom it affords them. The work that Wolt offers is different from work in traditional employment, and we’re happy that the Administrative Court recognized these differences when making its ruling,” says Joel Järvinen, country manager Finland at Wolt, in the press release.

The matter went to court after the Regional State Administrative Agency in Southern Finland took the view in 2021 that the Working Hours Act ought to apply to riders.

Atte Rytkönen-Sandberg, an expert at Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish SME association, says that the Administrative Court’s ruling matches the association’s view.

“Each situation must always be assessed on its own merits. In this case, the Administrative Court did not consider that the criteria for employment were met, and that the work was done by a self-employed person. Rytkönen-Sandberg says that the ruling is in accordance with the distinction between self-employed work and employment in the Employment Contract Act.

“In that sense, the ruling is consistent with the previous 2021 ruling by the Helsinki Administrative Court on a Wolt rider’s labour law status. In that case, too, the Helsinki Administrative Court found that the rider had not done deliveries as an employee,” he says.

Järvinen of Wolt says the Administrative Court’s ruling provides the clarity that both platforms and riders have sought.

“For us, it’s important that riders have the freedom to choose where, when and how they do their work and that they have good safety nets,” he said in the Wolt press release.

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