On 19 February, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Uber Drivers will now be classed as ‘workers’.
In 2016, two Uber drivers brought a case before the employment tribunal arguing that they should be considered as workers rather than self-employed individuals.
The decision made by the Supreme Court on 19 February means that Uber Drivers can now be afforded protection in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. This is extremely important for Uber Drivers, because it entitles them to a number of rights such as payment of national minimum wage, paid leave, rest breaks and a number of other legal protections which self-employed individuals do not automatically have access to.
When making its decision in this case, the Supreme Court considered a number of aspects of the relationship between Uber and its workers. For example, the Court took account of the fact that Uber determines the level of fares payable by its customers and drivers are not permitted to set their own prices as they would if they were self-employed taxi drivers. The Supreme Court also drew upon the fact that Uber has control over the way that drivers work, for example, If an Uber Driver’s’ ‘Uber rating’ falls below a certain level they can be met with penalties or termination of their contract.
This is a decision which not only awards Uber drivers their workers’ rights, but also sets a significant precedent, by paving the way for people in the ‘gig economy’ to raise similar legal challenges for their statutory rights in the future.