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an Uber important decision on employment status

31 October 2016

Uber drivers are 'workers' and not self-employed, according to the Employment Tribunals in a test case brought by two claimants. Uber’s arguments that the individuals were self-employed because they were never under any obligation to switch on the App or, even if logged on, to accept any driving assignment that may be offered to them, did not assist. The Tribunal found that any driver who had the App switched on and who was in the territory in which they were authorised to work was at that time a 'worker' engaged by Uber.

The implications of this decision for Uber are that their drivers are entitled to worker rights including paid annual leave, national minimum / living wage and rest breaks. Coincidentally an inquiry by a Commons Select Committee into the issues affecting workers, zero hour contracts and the self-employed was launched last week. Uber have confirmed they wish to appeal the decision, but it reminds businesses of the complexity of determining whether individuals engaged by them are self-employed and the risks attached of getting it wrong.

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