Uber Test Case - Self-employed or workers?
Posted on 8th January 2021 at 13:56
A decision is awaited from the Central London Tribunal in the case of Farrar and Aslam v Uber, which has been hailed as a ‘seminal case’ and a judgment is expected which is to have far reaching implications concerning employment law. Most people are by now aware that Uber is a service which allows users to book and pay for a cab through a smartphone app, is widely used by most people throughout London and the rest of the UK.
Are Uber drivers self-employed or workers?
Uber state that there are more than 30,000 drivers, who they refer to as ‘partners’ in London and 40,000 in the UK using its app, and that many do so because they can work flexibly and can ‘become their own boss. They are now being challenged in this current test case by two drivers to determine whether their drivers are 'partners' and therefore self employed, or whether they are 'workers' and entitled to holiday pay and the minimum wage.
The two Uber drivers who are bringing the test case both insist that they were employed by Uber and that Uber are acting unlawful in not paying them sick pay or holiday pay. They also claim that money is often deducted from their pay without advance warning , and ultimately their actions are controlled by Uber and therefore they are employed by the firm.
Uber are maintaining that they are merely a technology company that provides an app to put drivers in touch with customers, and point out that it doesn't set shifts or minimum hours, or make drivers work exclusively for Uber.
The rationale behind the test case is that employed people are afforded different and far more advantageous employment rights compared to those who are self employed.
Judgement awaited - what will happen to Uber?
The judgment is awaited, however it is likely that either side will appeal given what is at stake, as it is likely Uber will have to give back-pay of benefits to its drivers if the drivers win their case, and of course, all benefits will be required to be paid to current and existing drivers going forward. Conversely, if Uber is successful in their argument then this will open the pathway for similar outfits to enter the markets and promote this style of flexible working.
The Judgment is awaited this week, and although will not be legally binding, given its seminal value, it will be highly persuasive, and serves as a warning to employers when recruiting their workforce.
Employment Law Solicitors in Warrington
If you have an employment law issue or query contact our expert team of solicitors on 01925 937070 or email [email protected]
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