Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
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Date Published:22 Feb 2021 Last Updated:05 Mar 2021

Uber drivers ARE workers

Employment Law Advice

The long anticipated Judgment from the Supreme Court was delivered Friday 19th February, confirming that Uber drivers are workers and are therefore entitled to holiday pay, minimum wage and other basic workers’ rights. The Judgment can be found here.

This landmark case has been on-going since 2016 (commencing at the employment tribunal), leading to a long-running legal battle between Uber and its drivers. Uber has maintained the position throughout that its drivers are independent contractors and not workers.

The key aspect considered by the Supreme Court was that the drivers are workers from the moment they switch on their apps and are available for work in their area to the time when they switch off at the end of the day. The drivers enter into and are working under a contract with Uber whereby they undertake to perform services for Uber. The fact that the drivers have the right to turn down work was not found to be fatal to a finding that the driver is a worker.

The judgment has made it clear that when determining employment status, employment tribunals should examine the reality of the relationship between the parties and should look beyond the contractual documents.

This judgment is likely to have a huge impact on the gig economy and the determination of employment status. It is therefore vital that employers carefully consider the status of those individuals working for them and seek legal advice for clarification where necessary, to avoid any potential employment status claims and for tax reasons. Please see the following link to HMRC’s employment status tool here.

How can we help you?

Our experienced employment team are happy to assist you in determining an individual’s employment status. If you require our assistance, please contact our employment partner, Kate Brooks at kate.brooks@ellisjones.co.uk or telephone 01202 525333.