Bebbington v Palmer t/a Sturry News - Newspaper boy was not employee, and so could not claim unfair dismissal [2010] EAT

In the circumstances of this case a 15 year old newspaper boy, working a paper round, was not to be regarded as working under a contract of employment. Furthermore Children and Young Persons Act 1933 sec 18 did not have the effect of making him, of necessity, an employee.

Mr Bebbington was a schoolboy aged 14 when he started doing a paper round for his local newsagent, Sturry News in Sturry, Canterbury. Sturry News had obtained the necessary permits to employ children, and Mr Bebbington worked on a small paper round of some 12-13 houses. There was no written contract, and the arrangement as to the scope of work and pay was verbal - certainly when Sturry News was sold to a new owner the paper boys (Mr Bebbington was one of six) were described simply as "casual workers". Sturry News only paid Mr Bebbington for the days that he was able to work, and it was not obliged to provide him with that work.  He was given no sick pay and there were no agreed holidays.  There was no obligation upon Mr Bebbington to turn up for work either - there were times when he did not do so (and would phone in out of courtesy and arrange for another of the paper boys to do his round) but if the paper boys failed to turn up or let Sturry News know, its owner simply made her own arrangements.

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