The Team

Supreme Court Judgement has implications for the gig economy
24/02/2021
Supreme Court Judgement has implications for the gig economy

Uber finally lost its claim that it is simply a technology provider matching up individuals who needed transport to drivers who were offering transport. On 19 February 2021, the UK Supreme Court delivered its judgement and rejected Uber’s appeal. This is the final determination of the case and no further appeal is possible.

 

A number of Uber drivers had previously applied to an employment tribunal claiming that they were “workers” and, as such, were entitled to certain right. These were rights such as minimum pay, holiday pay and sickness pay. The employment tribunal supported their claim and found in their favour.

 

Uber appealed the decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and when they lost there, to the Appeal Court. Following the loss in the Appeal Court, they then applied to the UK Supreme Court to have the judgement set aside. Their appeal failed.

 

This now means that all Uber drivers are entitled to be classified as “workers” and not as self-employed. Being workers, they are entitled to minimum wage (that means being paid for all the hours they’re logged on to the Uber App and not just the hours where they’ve been hired for a fare. They’re also entitle to sick pay and holiday pay. Note only that, but they are entitled to have these payments backdated from the day they started with Uber up to a maximum of 6 years.

 

Whilst this judgement affects Uber, the wider implications for the gig economy are quite stark – if you insist on the level of control Uber and others exert over those they engage to do work for them, expect them to be characterised as “workers”. This means the “self-employed” model needs to be examined carefully.

 

You can view the press summary of the judgement by clicking here. The full judgement is available to view by clicking here.

 

If you require any assistance with an employment issue, please get in touch.