The United Kingdom (UK) Supreme Court ruled on 19 Feb 2021 that Uber drivers are “workers” — and are not self-employed as Uber had claimed. As such, the estimated 60,000 Uber workers in the UK are entitled to receive core entitlements, such as paid holiday and the national minimum wage.
The factors used to determine worker or self-employment status are generally independent of the label given to the relationship. Uber Technologies Inc. has been defeated at every stage of its appeal against the 2016 decision by the Employment Tribunal. In this case, the Supreme Court considered the five findings made by the employment tribunal and found that, taken together, the drivers’ jobs were tightly defined and controlled by Uber, and the drivers were rightly found to be workers.
Although this decision was based on the facts of this case, it is potentially significant for the gig economy in the UK. Separately, the European Commission has launched a first stage consultation with European Union-level social partners on improving working conditions for digital platform workers, many of whom are work on a “gig” basis.