The Supreme Court has handed down a landmark judgement in the Uber case. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the decisions of earlier courts and has found that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ and not self-employed as Uber has tried to argue.
The decision of the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal in the UK marks the end of the case for Uber. The Uber case had been ongoing since an employment tribunal decision in October 2016 found that two former Uber drivers worked for Uber. At the time of the tribunal hearing in 2016, the number of Uber drivers operating in the UK was estimated to be around 40,000, of whom around 30,000 were operating in the London area. The ruling in this case has important implications, not just for Uber drivers, but for the many people across the country working in the gig economy.
The decision means that Uber drivers are entitled to the minimum wage (including the right to back pay), holiday entitlement and certain other employment rights. The Supreme Court also ruled that Uber drivers are ‘working’ for the entire period that they are logged into the Uber app within the territory in which they were licensed to operate and were ready and willing to accept trips, and not just during the periods that they are driving passengers to their destinations.
The judgment does not give the ‘workers’ full ‘employee’ rights, for example, a worker cannot claim unfair dismissal or a statutory redundancy payment.