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November 1, 2016

Uber drivers and their employment status

The drivers of Uber claim that they are employees/workers of Uber rather than self-employed. Employees have the highest level of protection in terms of employment rights with self-employed having the least protection. Workers have less extensive employment protection rights than employees, but are entitled to most statutory rights (e.g. sick pay, holiday pay). 

Uber claims that the drivers are self-employed because they are able to decide their hours with flexibility and have the option to work for other employers too. 

The drivers argue that they are not technically self-employed and should therefore be entitled to the benefits of an employee/worker. They also argue that their actions are controlled by the firm which is the normal effect of being an employee. 

However, Uber claims that they are a tech firm that provides an app that links the drivers and customers and that they are not a transport company because they do not know the drop-off destinations before the customer gets in the car. 

The final judgement is yet to come regarding this issue. However this issue has also been highlighted in the case of Hermes, where couriers for the parcel delivery company are self-employed. There is a concerning growth of companies using self-employed workers rather than employing them as employees or workers. Therefore avoiding the entitlement to national living wage, pension contribution and holiday/sick pay. 

The outcome of this case may have huge implications for employment law due to extending employment rights to many more people. It likely that either side will appeal the Tribunals decision because the stakes are so high.

The outcome of this case will also effect the 'gig-economy' and may cause other firms with a similar set up to have to change their business model. A huge advantage of the 'gig-economy' is it increases flexibility and allows individuals to combine secure employment with additional income.

The Employment team at Greenaway Scot advise clients on employment rights and status and are more than happy to discuss these issues. 

To find out more please contact employment@greenawayscott.com or visit our website www.greenawayscott.com

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