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Dutch Supreme Court rules that delivery drivers are employees

Written by
Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten, leading law firm in the Netherlands specialised in HR and employment law.
On 24 March 2023 the long awaited Supreme Court ruling in the Deliveroo case in the Netherlands was published.

The ruling confirms that the legal relationship between Deliveroo and its ‘riders’ (delivery drivers) qualifies not as an agreement for services, but as an employment agreement in the sense of the Dutch Civil Code. This ruling has implications not only for Deliveroo and its riders, but also for other gig workers and those that hire them in the Netherlands as it takes another step forward in the long-standing debate regarding how an agreement for work should be classified. 

The Supreme Court affirms that whether an agreement should be regarded as an employment agreement depends on all of the circumstances of the specific case. By way of guidance, the Supreme Court further defines several factors that may be relevant, for example: 

  • the manner in which the work and the working hours are determined; 
  • the embedding of the work and the worker in the organisation of the work provider; 
  • the existence or absence of an obligation to perform the work personally; 
  • the manner in which the contractual arrangement was established; 
  • whether the worker runs a commercial risk in entering into the agreement; and 
  • whether the worker behaves as an entrepreneur more broadly in economic life (e.g. the number of clients the worker works or has worked for and how the worker markets himself or herself). 


Further, the Supreme Court acknowledges that this issue is the subject of a long debate, especially with regard to the question of whether there is reason for further interpretation of the legal phrase ’employed by’. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that since this issue already has the attention of the European and Dutch legislators, it for now sees no reason to give an opinion on this issue ‘for the sake of legal development.’ 

The legislator said at the end of last year that it aims to have a new law dealing with this issue in place in 2025. With the Supreme Court ruling not giving any further guidance, it appears that until then the practice is left with continued uncertainty and room for discussion between contractual parties as it is today.  

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Hylda Wiarda
Hylda Wiarda
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Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten