By Gillian Cumming, Senior Solicitor.
The much-anticipated judgment of the final appeal of the Uber Case to the Supreme Court has today been handed down, holding that Uber drivers are workers (as the lower courts had found) and not self-employed sub-contractors (as Uber had been arguing).
Since its inception in 2016, the Uber Case has received much press attention, having a potentially huge impact on employment status in the ‘gig economy’. For the drivers who brought the claim, the result of the Supreme Court’s finding is that they are workers at any time when they are logged onto the Uber app waiting within the territory in which they work. The implication of that ruling is that they are entitled to receive national minimum wage for all time when they are logged on and a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave each year amongst other rights, which are not available to the genuinely self-employed. As a result, Uber drivers will now be able to claim large sums of back pay.
This case will have wider implications for all workers and businesses in the gig economy. Just Employment Law will send our clients a fuller analysis of these implications in due course. However, in the meantime, the key takeaway for businesses is likely to be the strident ruling that any clauses in a contract which purport to give the “worker” in that contract a status which does not reflect the reality of the situation will be void and unenforceable. Therefore, the ability of businesses to protect themselves when engaging gig economy workers by seeking to agree with the worker that they will be treated as self-employed is now extremely limited.
The full judgment can be viewed here.
If you would like to discuss the above, or you require support or advice on any other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0141 331 5150.