Uber drivers now classed as workers - but what does this mean?

Uber drivers now classed as workers - but what does this mean?

Executive Grapevine
Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Uber drivers have won the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed.

The ruling by a London employment tribunal means drivers for the ride-hailing app will be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks, and the National Minimum Wage.

But what does the Uber ruling mean for employment law?

Steven Eckett, an employment solicitor at Gardner Leader, discusses what the Uber ruling will mean for employment law.

Gig economy hit by Uber employment tribunal ruling

"The employment tribunal's decision to class these particular Uber drivers as 'workers' rather than 'self-employed' will have repercussions throughout the gig industry and is highly likely to lead to a rethinking of the employment status of these workers and with it, a clarification of their employment rights. It is also likely to impact on Uber drivers in the EU who are also bound by the Working Time Regulations." 

Decision sheds clarity on definition of worker

"The gig economy has thrived on companies using a pool of self-employed or freelance workers rather than directly employing them but this has, at times, led to a misunderstanding amongst various businesses over who is classed as self-employed and who is classed as a worker. The difference has a significant impact because workers in law have a range of employment rights that they are able to enforce.

"People are classed as workers when there is a mutuality of obligation on the part of the business to provide work that these workers are obliged to undertake, with a degree of control by the business as to where, when and how the work is to be carried out. This contrasts with genuinely self-employed contractors who are usually free to accept or decline work.”

Information on what this means for the ‘gig economy’ and consumers can be found on the next page.