The age-old question of employment status has been in the news again, as Uber lost its appeal at the UK supreme court. Uber was arguing that their drivers are self-employed contractors who are contracted directly with customers and are therefore self-employed and not “workers” of Uber.
The supreme court stated Uber runs a transportation business and drivers provide the skilled labour through which that business delivers its services and earns its profits. Their drivers are not self-employed but are workers. As a result Uber will classify around 70,000 drivers in the UK as workers. The drivers will still not be considered employees but will get certain rights by their worker status, including accrue holiday time and receive a minimum wage while driving fares, and will be enrolled in a pension plan starting on March 17th.
Although the U-turn by Uber is seen as a big win for drivers, there are some notable caveats. Most importantly, drivers will only earn a minimum wage after accepting trip requests and will not be paid an hourly rate. This potentially goes against the February Supreme Court ruling, which, in a press summary, states that “time spent … working for Uber was not limited (as Uber argued) to periods when they were actually driving passengers to their destinations, but included any period when the driver was logged into the Uber app.”
We watch this space for any more developments but a certain landmark case for sure.