28 Oct 2016

Dominic Holmes, Partner at International Law Firm, Taylor Vinters comments following the ruling by an employment tribunal that Uber drivers should be classed as “workers”.

Dominic Holmes, Partner at International Law Firm, Taylor Vinters comments following the ruling by an employment tribunal that Uber drivers should be classed as “workers”, entitling them to certain rights including the national minimum wage and holiday pay, he states:

“Uber has failed to demonstrate that, in this particular case, its drivers ultimately perform work not for Uber itself, but for the individual passengers who use the app.”

“Despite the outcome, there is no reason in principle why flexible business models operated by market disruptors in the “gig economy” cannot work.”

“There is increasing consumer demand for the innovative services they offer, coupled with the desire of many people to work on their own terms. However, innovators need to be very clear about how they want to run their businesses.”

“For example, are they genuine arms-length “facilitators” who simply charge a fee for introducing individual service providers to customers via a tech platform? Or do they want to engage people directly and adopt a more hands-on approach, which may allow greater control over quality of service but increases the risk that those who do the work will be considered “workers” (or perhaps even employees).”

“Finding that balance will be the key for businesses who, quite understandably, seek maximum workforce flexibility at minimum cost, whilst maintaining their reputation and brand.”