In my last article I discussed the meteoric rise of the gig economy, with Uber being one of its major players. But does last month’s ruling on the ride-hailing platform threaten to bring it all crashing down?

A tribunal concluded that two Uber drivers (who were representing a larger group of nineteen), rather than being self-employed, were in fact to be classed as ‘workers’, and were therefore entitled to the National Minimum Wage, rest breaks, and other protections.

It was concluded that, “it is not real to regard Uber as working ‘for’ the owners and that the only sensible interpretation is that the relationship is the other way around”

Among their deciding factors the judges commented on the degree of control that Uber has over its drivers.

“[Uber] instructs drivers as to how to do their work and, in numerous ways, controls them in the performance of their duties.”

The full ruling can be found here.

Uber are to appeal the decision, with UK Regional General Manager Jo Bertram stating, “A recent poll of 1,000 drivers who use our app found that the overwhelming majority prefer being self-employed and joined Uber precisely because they want to be their own boss.”

IPSE Chief Executive Chris Bryce is concerned that the decision may discourage companies from utilising the self-employed workforce,

“However, Government must be careful not to dissuade firms from making use of the highly-skilled, on-demand flexible workforce as a whole. The vast majority of people who work this way made an active choice to do so and cherish their self-employed status”

The ruling, which highlights uncertainty over the status of those in the gig economy, follows the announcement last month that there will be a Government review of workers’ rights, in particular with regards to the modern workforce.

As a provider of compliant accountancy solutions, Danbro have welcomed the review. Executive Chairman Damian Broughton says,

“It is absolutely critical that employment legislation is overhauled to match the modern way of working and it’s fantastic that Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to review the current system.”

The full effect of the ruling remains to be seen. What are your thoughts on the ruling? Let us know in the comments section below.

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