In August we highlighted that the Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in Bates van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co LLP suggested that partners could be classed as "workers" for the purposes of the automatic enrolment legislation.
In essence, that decision might have led to partnerships and LLPs providing their respective partners and members with access to a pension scheme and, perhaps, automatically enrolling those individuals into a qualifying scheme.
Last week the appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal's decision was heard, with the Court of Appeal ruling that membership of an LLP or partnership in a firm was incompatible with employee and worker status. In other words, partners in a partnership and members of an LLP do not fall within the definition of "worker".
Partnerships and LLPs can breathe a sigh of relief. In addition to partners and LLP members falling outside of various employment law protections, the Court of Appeal's decision also indicates that partners and LLP members fall outside of the scope of the automatic enrolment legislation.
Although the decision is a victory for common sense, it involved a rather subtle interpretation of employment legislation which could well be the focus of future disputes.