Uber drivers entitled to workplace protections

 

The ‘gig’ economy is characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs. Depending upon your viewpoint, it is either a positive working environment that offers a great deal of flexibility (for example, employment hours in the control of the individual) or it is a form of worker exploitation with very little protection (for example, lack of paid holidays, sickness benefit and so on).

Partner, Andrew Bryan, discusses the latest attempt to bring a degree of legal clarity to the employment status of people in the gig economy which was recently played out in the Court of Appeal in relation to Uber, the smart-phone app based ‘ride hailing’ service.

The argument has gone back and forth through the courts, with Uber maintaining that its drivers are self-employed and should be treated as such, whilst the plaintiffs argued that they were employees and should therefore be entitled to the benefits and protections of employment.  

The Court of Appeal found that, having regard to the true nature of the agreement between private hire vehicle drivers and the companies providing and operating a smart-phone app through which passenger transportation services were provided, the drivers were “workers” within the meaning of section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The court further clarified that each claimant’s working time started as soon as they were within their “territory” (in this case London), had the app switched on and was ready and willing to accept trips, and ended as soon as any of those three conditions ceased to apply. As such, they were working for Uber under the terms of an employment contract during that period; whether or not any physical contract of employment was in place.

Andrew said, “The gig economy is large and growing every year; encompassing jobs such as food delivery, ride-hailing drivers, couriers and so on. Clarity on their employment status is of vital importance as the number of people occupied this this way grows and becomes part of the fabric of our economy”.

If you would like assistance in connection with an employment issue, call Andrew on 02392 820747 for further information.

Change in Law for Rental Property

A new Act will come into force on 20th March 2019 which states that any property let by a landlord as a home must be fit for living in. This includes private renting, social housing and houses of multiple occupancy (HMO).

More Info

New service for identifying charitable bequests

Senior Probate Executive, Alanna White, comments on a new system alerting charities to when they have been left money in wills is to be established by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) following a decision to end its current arrangement.

More Info

Do you need to insure your car if you don’t drive it?

Partner, Hannah Jones, considers the implications of a recent ruling from the European court of Justice, which was asked “Do you need to insure a car that is kept secured off-road and which you have no intention of using?”

More Info

Uber drivers entitled to workplace protections

The ‘gig’ economy is characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs. It is either a positive working environment that offers a great deal of flexibility. 

More Info

Reviews

We’re proud to be associated with

  • The Law Society, Conveyancing Quality Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Children Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Criminal Litigation Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Advanced Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Lexcel Accredited logo
  • Solicitors For The Elderly Accredited logo
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners logo
  • Dementia Friends logo
  • Resolution logo