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Uber – Employment Tribunal Decision

The Employment Tribunal has now handed down its decision in the case brought by drivers against the company Uber. The decision confirmed that the two drivers who brought the cases are ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and are not ‘self-employed’.

The Uber concept is essentially a taxi service that is provided through a mobile app. In the Employment Tribunal’s view, any driver who has the app switched on, is able and willing to accept assignments, and if within the territory in which he or she is authorised to work, is then working for Uber under a worker contract.

The ruling means that Uber drivers will be entitled to a limited number of employment rights (similar but less than those afforded to employees) which will include:

• the national minimum wage (and the national living wage),
• 5.6 weeks paid annual leave each year,
• a maximum 48-hour average working week, and rest breaks,
• protection of the whistleblowing legislation.

As the drivers are workers, and not employees, they do not have entitlement to:
• the ability to claim unfair dismissal,
• the right to a statutory redundancy payment,
• the protection of TUPE, if Uber sells its business.

This decision is likely to be appealed further to the Supreme Court as its ruling will have implications on many workers in the ‘gig economy’. (The ‘gig economy’ is the term now commonly being used to describe an environment in which temporary positions are common, and where organisations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements).

The implications of this decision……

If you are engaging people on a ‘self-employed’ basis, ask yourself the question, are they a worker? Or simply ask us at Peach Law.

This is an interesting decision and we do not predict this is the end of the Uber case… Peach Law will continue to update on this case as any developments arise.

Uber – Employment Tribunal Decision

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