Today, the Supreme Court has upheld an Employment Tribunal’s decision that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ for the purpose of individual rights in Employment Law, but why is this an important decision?
It would make sense that when you create an express agreement, this would represent your status with a company. However, that is not necessarily the case and so just because an agreement has been written it does not mean it reflects what happens in reality.
Uber BV and ors -v- Aslam and ors
In Uber BV and ors -v- Aslam and ors, the Court emphasised that the determination of status is a question of statutory interpretations and not contractual interpretation meaning it is wrong to treat the written agreement as the starting point. In this case, the Court wanted to see what the individuals working life was really like and so they focused on five factors which they considered were relevant. These were as follows;-
- Did Uber dictate the rate of pay?
- Did Uber dictate the contract terms?
- Did Uber constrain the drivers’ freedom to choose when to work?
- Did Uber control the way the drivers delivered the service?
- Did Uber control the way in which the service was delivered?
The Courts view was that Uber had a level of control over the drivers and consequently, they have been held to have ‘worker’ status. Consequently, the drivers are entitled to national minimum wage and they are owed holiday pay.
How To Know Your Status?
In accordance with section 230(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee is an individual who has entered into or works under the terms of a contract of employment. The contract can be created expressly or implied by the nature of the relationship. For an individual to have employee status they will: –
- Be obliged to work personally and not be able to substitute their work.
- Provide the work to the employee and the employee is obliged to accept the work.
- The employer has control over how the employee carries out the work.
In accordance with section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, a worker means an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment or any contract whereby they agree to perform work personally. In essence, the worker is sometimes seen as a ‘half-way house’ between an employee and someone who is self-employed.
Whilst workers do have fewer statutory rights they do have several key legal rights which include; protection from discrimination, entitlement to the national minimum way, entitlement to holiday pay, for example.
Individuals being self-employed should;
- Be in business for themselves and be responsible for the success or failure of their business which can make a profit or a loss.
- Decide when they work, where and how to do it.
- Can hire someone else to do the work.
- Are responsible for fixing any unsatisfactory work in their own time.
- There’s a fixed price for the work – i.e. it doesn’t depend on how long the job takes to finish.
- Use their own money to buy business assets, cover running costs and provide the tools and equipment for their work.
- Work for more than one client.
How Can We Help You?
If you believe you may be a worker or an employee but you remain unsure, or if you have any other Employment Law issue please do not hesitate to contact us on 01522 440512 or email us at email@example.com
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors