Uber drivers: Workers or self-employed?

There has been a long -standing battle between Uber drivers and Uber about whether they are workers or self-employed. 

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has today decided that Uber drivers are in fact workers. 

Why? 

The Court confirmed that when determining an individual’s employment status, a Tribunal needs to examine the reality of the relationship between the parties and not just be governed by what the contract or document between them states. 

Whilst Uber tried to argue that the drivers were self-employed contractors, the Supreme Court has confirmed that they are in fact workers who are available for work from the moment they switch on their app until they turn it off at the end of their day.

What does this mean?

This means that as “workers”, Uber drivers will be entitled to be paid the national minimum wage and will also be entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave each year amongst other things.

It doesn’t however afford them “employee” rights including a right to claim unfair dismissal, but it is a significant finding none the less.

Why does this decision matter to my business? 

Getting an individual’s employment status right from the outset is important. Just because your contract might say that an employee is either self-employed or a worker, may not mean that is what is going on in practice. You need to consider what is going on in reality and ensure that you have the right contract in place. This is not always straight forward and we recommend seeking expert advice if you have any concerns over the status of anyone carrying out work for you.

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