Uber’s tribunal appeal rejected – Drivers are workers

  • Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are not self-employed
  • Workers are entitled to rights such as rest breaks and a minimum wage
  • Two drivers originally took the case to tribunal last year
  • There are more ‘gig economy’ legal cases to come
  • Likely to end up in the Supreme Court, but the appeal tribunal decision is significant
  • Self-employed contractor status could now be unsafe

What does this mean for your business?

Nothing immediately. But if you’re using self-employed contractors in your business, this could open you up to the possibility of a tribunal case of your own, from people challenging their employment status – especially now that fees were abolished a few months ago, meaning employees and workers can take their boss to court, with no fees for lodging a claim.

4.6m people in the UK are considered self-employed contractors and the implications from this case could reverberate through large and small businesses alike. The employment status of people working for you is a crucial issue to get right, and cases like this are likely to raise awareness among employees.

What are workers’ rights?

Everyone who works for a company is entitled to basic rights such as paid holiday leave, regular rest breaks and a minimum/living wage (depending on their age). Self-employed contracts are not afforded these rights or protections.

Similar cases such as Addison Lee, Deliveroo and Pimlico Plumbers suggests that the ‘gig economy’ (where people are offered flexible working through marketplace services) might be coming to an end.

What are people saying?

The news is still hot off the press, so most of the immediate reaction is how this might have future implications for the nearly five million people it could impact across most businesses. But previously, the Deliveroo boss suggested that giving its delivery drivers worker’s rights would add an additional pound to the regular £2.50 delivery cost.

What do we think?

We have called for the worker status to be scrapped having a clear distinction between employed and self-employed. We’ve given evidence to Westminster for the Future in Work enquiry, where we called for greater clarity on employment status and raised SME employment issues directly with decision makers.

How can I protect my business?

Looking at the status of people working for your business would be a great place to start as well as minimise any risk from an employment tribunal. The HR Dept Advice Line packages are backed by market leading employment tribunal insurance and ensure that you have access to the HR support and employment law advice that you need.

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