The importance of worker status

The importance of worker status

The importance of worker status. Are you self-employed or a worker?

The Court of Appeal has finally held by a majority that Uber drivers now have worker status. 

In the 'Gig Economy' do you know if you're self-employed or worker status?

In the last two years there has been a surge in the number of cases dealing with whether an individual is self-employed or a worker.  Many of these cases have involved couriers and taxi drivers working in the so-called ‘gig economy’.  Having worker status is important for a number of key employment rights including the following:

  • Protection from unlawful deductions from wages
  • Entitlement to receive the National Minimum Wage
  • Entitlement to paid holidays

The case involving Uber began when a number of drivers brought a claim alleging unlawful deductions from wages and a failure to provide paid holidays. Uber, which owns and operates a smartphone app through which customers order a taxi and pay the fare, claimed that the drivers were all self-employed – in other words Uber claimed that it was acting only as an intermediary, providing booking and payment services and that the drivers were working as independent contractors. The case finally reached the Court of Appeal in December 2018 which decided (by three judges voting two to one) that the drivers were not self-employed and were, in fact, workers.

However, that may not be the end of the matter as the Court of Appeal has given Uber permission to appeal to the highest court in the UK, which is the Supreme Court. The case will have wide ranging implications for all those working in the gig economy in general and its outcome will be eagerly anticipated. 

Whatever the outcome of this case, it is interesting that the government has stated that it will pass legislation to improve the clarity of the current tests used to decide whether somebody is self-employed or a worker or an employee.

If you need to speak to a specialist employment solicitor about employee rights and worker status call Paul Grindley on 0113 320 5000 or email paulg@winstonsolicitors.co.uk