Employment Rights: What Now For Uber?

Year Published: 2016

In a long-awaited judgment, an employment tribunal has agreed with two drivers from Uber. The app based taxi company works with more than 40,000 drivers in the UK. The tribunal has concluded that their drivers should now be classed as ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996. During the case the tribunal judges dismissed Uber’s claim that its London operation was a mosaic of thousands of small businesses linked by a technology platform as “faintly ridiculous”. They said Uber resorted to “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology” to portray their drivers as self-employed.

James Heath, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Law & HR team at SAS Daniels

James Heath, Associate at SAS Daniels

The decision guarantees Uber drivers a limited number of employment rights including:

  • 6 weeks’ paid annual leave each year;
  • The right to be paid the National Minimum Wage (and the National Living Wage);
  • A maximum 48 hour average working week and rest breaks;
  • Protection from the whistleblowing legislation;
  • Protection from discrimination.

Uber have said they will appeal the judgement. Any payments due to drivers will not be calculated until that process is over.

Other drivers within the firm will not automatically receive pay-outs. However, if the company accepts the ruling, it will have to change its contracts to avoid more cases being made by drivers.

How will this employment rights judgement reflect on other businesses?

Other similar cases are likely to follow the Uber judgment. Cycle couriers are making similar claims against firms including CitySprint, Addison Lee, eCourier and Excel.

Commenting in the Telegraph, a spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy said: “the Government is committed to building an economy that works for all. We are keen to ensure our employment rules keep up to date to reflect new ways of working, and that’s why the Government has asked Matthew Taylor to conduct an independent review into modern working practices.”

Legislation and the way we all work is constantly changing and keeping up to date is crucial. To help with this we use SAS Protect, our very own online HR management system. This is also offered to our clients to support their business in this ever changing area of law.

For more information on employment rights or any other employment law and HR matter, please contact James Heath on 01625 442110.


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