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Middleton Law Ltd

There has been a fascinating challenge in the Employment Tribunal between Uber and two of its’ drivers, who claimed to be employees.  The outcome of this case will have implications all around the UK for those who are supposedly self-employed contractors but who may be entitled to be categorised as workers.

Have we all heard of Uber taxis – if not, you soon will as they are spreading out of London and coming to a town or city near you soon.  I have even seen one in the wilds of Hampshire!  It is based around an app that allows you to book a taxi – the drivers then see your request and select it to say that they will fulfill it.

Now of course, some people like being self-employed for the sake of having as much flexibility as they would like, but the benefits of this have to be balanced against the lack of any paid annual leave, having no entitlement to national minimum or living wage, and having no entitlements to rest breaks or a maximum number of working hours per week, as provided for in the Working Time Regulations.  The two Uber drivers now have access to these benefits.  If they were found to be employees they would have had more protection under the Employment Rights Act, for example not to be unfairly dismissed, and other rights such as Statutory Redundancy Pay.

It is very likely that the judgment will be appealed as, although it currently only applies to two drivers, many more are expected to claim worker status, which will have a huge financial impact on Uber.

In the meantime, if you are a business that uses self-employed contractors on a regular basis you should consider whether they could be more properly considered to be workers – depending on the degree of control over their work, and a few other factors.

My advice would be – take advice! Why not give me a call or contact me through my website and I will try to advise.


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