Supreme Court rules Uber drivers are workers

19 February, 2021

Head of employment, Rhona Darbyshire comments on the Supreme Court’s decision in Uber v Aslam.  

“The impact of the Supreme Court’s unanimous rejection of Uber’s appeal is huge. With Uber drivers being classed as workers entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage, there will be massive implications for the gig economy business model. This model has typically been to flood the market with delivery drivers, plumbers, couriers or whatever  there might be sporadic demand for which quickly loses its appeal if the costs or risks that come with that are too high.

 

The knock-on effect is anticipated for other workers in the broader gig economy, which has thrived during the pandemic due to increased demand for deliveries and other services. It is hoped that this decision will serve as a precedent to allow more workers to benefit from increased protection and remuneration. Many companies will no longer be able to use the smokescreen of self-employment to deny workers their rights.

 

For many workers who may struggle to understand and assert their rights, this decision is an important win and brings welcome clarity for all those operating in the gig economy. Uber will now have to accept the responsibilities it has resisted, compensate drivers and discuss a way forward.

 

It will be interesting to see over the coming months which businesses who have thrived in a gig economy will be able to adapt their business model quickly enough to continue to be successful and to weather the flow of claims and class actions which are likely to follow this landmark decision.”  

Read Camilla Beamish’s detailed summary of the case here.