The recent Supreme Court decision which found that the Uber drivers are actually workers is a landmark case that employers should take note of. The decision taken in February of this year means that the thousands of drivers who were operating under the Uber banner and presumed by the Company to be ‘independent contractors’ are in fact workers and will be entitled to the national minimum wage, holiday pay and whistleblower protection and other employment rights.
Uber had claimed that the drivers were ‘independent contractors’ and were not entitled to employment rights. Uber will now be faced with a bill for back pay which will run into the hundreds of thousands.
This raises questions for employers who operate with similar ‘independent contractors’, such as hairdressers, drivers in haulage / delivery firms and other gig economy businesses and this landmark case will set a precedence for how tribunals will determine status of workers going forward.
Businesses are reminded that the potential for claims will be heightened as a result of this decision as awareness amongst contractors will also be raised. If your contractors have no control over the work they do, or how it is done, are provided with company equipment to do the job, that the employer controls when the work is done and there is little opportunity for the contractor to have autonomy for the work, there is a likelihood that your contractors might be in the same position.
If you would like advice on this for your business, please contact us here and we can help you to understand your risk and provide advice on how to manage your contracts and reduce the risk of a claim.