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UK Supreme court rules Uber drivers are not self-employed
Uber’s workforce must now be classified as ‘workers’ rather than ‘self-employed’, the Supreme Court has ruled in a landmark employment tribunal.
Uber appealed to the Supreme Court after having lost three previous cases. This final ruling by the Supreme Court marks the end of a long-running tribunal, preventing Uber from any further appeals.
This ruling could mean that many thousands of Uber’s drivers might be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay, something traditionally reserved for those under PAYE employment, as well as exposing Uber to potentially significant historical compensation claims.
The Supreme Court considered a number of employment law elements, which ultimately led it to the conclusion that the drivers were not truly self-employed.
- Uber set the drivers’ fares, which meant they were limiting how much drivers could earn.
- Uber decided the contract terms and the drivers had no option other than to accept those terms.
- Drivers did not have the ability to reject rides without being penalised.
- Uber had the ability to terminate the relationship with a driver if their ratings dropped too low.
- Uber actively monitored drivers to prevent them from forming a direct agreement with a passenger outside of the app.
This case underlines the necessity of engaging with self-employed people in a manner that reflects the contract agreed. In other words, a contract alone is not enough to protect employment status from scrutiny. The reality of working conditions must be demonstrated to match that of the contract.
Although this has far-reaching consequences for the gig economy, it needn’t impact those who operate a truly self-employed model.
Satisfy the key requirements of engaging with the self-employed, and ensure that the contract and reality are aligned, and you will have no cause for concern.
However, if you are worried about the current model you’re using with self-employed people. Then IN-SYNC Group can provide an audit of your current processes, highlighting risk areas, and making suggestions for how best to negate those risks.