Why Uber drivers are laughing all the way to court!

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Uber drivers are “workers” and therefore entitled the National Minimum Wage and to paid holiday. The result of the decision is catastrophic for Uber, whose share price plummeted on the announcement of the decision. The company now faces having to provide all its drivers with unpaid wages and holiday pay going back a number of years.

The Uber decision is the latest in a long line of similar cases which have almost all been decided in favour of the worker (rather than the organisation) and is a resounding victory for the rights of individuals who earn their living working in the gig economy.

On several occasions, the Supreme Court judgment emphasised that contract wording cannot eclipse worker rights – something which has been highlighted time and time again in previous decisions. What is important is analysis of the facts in each case in order to establish whether an individual is an employee, a worker, or whether someone is genuinely self-employed.

The outcome of the decision for organisations is they should approach employment status with extreme caution and consider what arrangements are, or should be, in place with individuals who work for them. It is these arrangements which will, from the outset, determine the individual’s employment status and the content of a written contract. The tail should never wag the dog!

If you have any questions on the above, or any aspect of employment status, please contact Caroline Banwell at Harmony HR Solutions Ltd.