Financial & Legal News

Supreme Court rules UK Uber drivers as workers

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The gig economy and the rights of 'workers’ has been brought into focus after a Supreme Court decision in favour of Uber drivers, this now poses a number of interesting challenges for employers.

Workers Vs self employed

With the court deciding that the drivers should be classed as ‘workers’, not sub-contractors, they now have access to a host of employment rights including minimum wage, holiday pay, protection against discrimination and enhanced health and safety obligations.

This is a long running battle dating back to 2016, via both the Employment Tribunal and the Court of Appeal when two London based drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, argued that they ‘worked’ for Uber and took the tech platform to an employment tribunal. Uber has always claimed its drivers were self-employed independent contractors and it therefore was not responsible for paying any minimum wage nor holiday pay.

Uber has appealed all previous rulings which found in the drivers’ favour and now the highest court, the Supreme Court, has also found in favour of the drivers stating that Uber London’s contract is with their passengers and Uber then employ drivers to carry out their bookings.

What does this mean for Workers?

What this means in reality is that from the time they are ready to work and switch on their apps, to when they switch off at the end of the day, the drivers are employed as ‘workers’.

Speaking about the decision, Pearson's Head of Employment Law Susan Mayall said:  “What is interesting in this decision is the new employee status now given to the workers for Uber and their contractual relationship with Uber which brings with it relevant employment legislation rights.

“The drivers who  brought the case will now get compensation and it will of course have a knock-on effect across the rest of the gig economy. We await to see how this will pan out,” added Susan

Workers can work for a company under a  contract, but if they are not self-employed, they can be casual workers, agency and/or freelance workers. These people are afforded a number of essential employment rights such as minimum wage and regulations on working time and also paid annual leave.

For advice on all aspects of employment law, whether you run a business or if you are an employee contact the Pearson's employment law solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Susan Mayall


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