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Uber loses in the Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Uber v Aslam, reaching the same conclusion as earlier courts that Uber drivers are ‘workers’.
The key points are:-

  1. a tribunal should examine the reality of the relationship between the parties, and not be bound by what the documentation states. On this analysis, the tribunal was entitled to find that Uber drivers are ‘workers’, not self-employed subcontractors;

  2. the drivers are ‘workers’ from the moment they switch on their apps, and are available for work in their area, to the time when they switch their apps off at the end of the day (or, presumably, for a break).

This means that Uber drivers are entitled to claim minimum wage (including backpay for minimum wage), with their minimum wage claims being based upon their entire working day, not just when they had a rider in their cabs.  Up to two years’ backpay (there is some doubt about this, it could be longer), or £25,000 (whichever is the larger) can be claimed in an employment tribunal, and up to six years’ backpay can be claimed in the county court.
They can also claim 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave each year, and will have whistleblowing and similar rights.  This judgment does not give them ‘employee’ rights, such as the right to a redundancy payment or to claim unfair dismissal.