Things to Consider
There were five key aspects according to the Court:
The drivers cannot set the price they get paid, and Uber set the “service charge” of 20% it deducted from drivers earnings.
The contractual terms were totally dictated by Uber.
While a driver could decide when and where to work, as soon at the driver logged on to the app, their choice was constrained. Reject too many ride requests and you get sanctioned.
Uber controlled the service delivery – specifying what cars, what colours, and their preferred route with driver ratings to further control that
Uber restricted communications between driver and passenger except through the app, so that a driver couldn’t claim the customer as their own.
The decision then was not a surprise to many employment lawyers like me, but it continues to impact on smaller businesses like yours.
I’ve seen many small businesses try to take people on a “self employed” basis, in order to avoid tax and avoid having to pay things like holiday, sick pay and maternity leave. A recent tricky example I came across, for instance, was in relation to swimming teachers. The company suggested the teachers were self employed, as outside of the 6 hours of teaching they were able to do what they like, when they like, with whom they like. However, the point is what they are doing for the 6 (or whatever) hours they are with you.
So if you have self employed people working for your business, and they are not free to come and go as they like, they cannot send a replacement, you control what they do and how they do it (or out constraints on the service delivery), and they cannot decide what to charge, then you may need to consider them as being workers rather than self employed.
What does it mean in practice?
A worker isn’t an employee, so don’t get all the rights an employee gets, but they are entitled to minimum wage and paid holiday.
For Uber, it is likely to mean claims from drivers seeking back pay of national minimum wage going back up to 6 years.
For your business, it’s an opportunity to properly consider whether the people you use are self-employed contractors, workers or employees.
If you need help with that the do get in touch below.