Spindogs
19 February 2021 | Comment | Article by Emily Thomas

UK Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers

Today, the Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Uber v Aslam. Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court has reached the same decision as earlier courts that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ rather than self-employed. 

The key points to note are as follows:

  • A Tribunal should not be bound by what is stated on the relevant documentation. Instead, it should consider the reality of the relationship between the parties. Following this approach, the Tribunal was permitted to find that Uber drivers are ‘workers’.
  • Uber drivers are ‘workers’ from the time in which they switch on their apps and are available for work in their area until they switch it off at the end of their working day.

This case confirms that Uber drivers are entitled to claim minimum wage (including backpay). The minimum wage which they receive is to be based upon their entire working day as opposed to just when they have a rider in their vehicle.

Uber drivers can also claim 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave each year, rights to rest breaks and will have whistleblowing rights (although will not be entitled to all employment rights such as redundancy pay and the right to bring a claim for unfair dismissal).

This judgment is yet further confirmation about the direction of travel in relation to protections for the many millions who work in the gig economy. It will have wide implications, not just for Uber, but for a large number of companies employing a similar business model. These ramifications not only include the prospect of higher employment costs going forward but potential claims for compensation which may now materialise.

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Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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