Uber decision, self-employed workers and you

You probably already know that a Tribunal in London has deemed Uber drivers to be “workers” engaged by the company, Uber. It means their drivers will be entitled to holiday pay and the National Living Wage. In a recent documentary Amazon has also come under scrutiny.

If you engage “self-employed” workers then you need to watch this case and any emergent cases, carefully. You need to consider how much control your self-employed workers have over their work and their earnings. For example:

  • Are there penalties of any kind for them refusing work (which compromises even their “worker” status, thus implying that they are employees)?
  • Can your “workers” negotiate with the end customer?
  • Do they keep any form of accounts, as a business would?
  • Can your “workers” reach a “profit” level equivalent to the National Minimum Wage once all their time and expenses are taken into account?

The more control end-workers have over their work, and the greater their ability to reach a reasonable profit, then the less the risk of them being classed as “workers”. In the later case they are legally entitled to the National Minimum Wage, holiday pay and (if they are classed as employees) sick pay and maternity pay.

It is clear that the GMB and Unite are determined to fight new business models. It seems likely that Amazon will also be in their sights. Whether you endorse their stance or not care is needed over any self-employed workers whom you engage. The flaw in the Uber model could apply to you.

Nonetheless, the Uber decision is only a Tribunal decision and the case is being appealed. It won’t be over until the fat lady (perhaps the Supreme Court, in this case) sings.

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