After a Supreme Court ruling last month backed a group of 35 Uber drivers challenging their self-employed status, Uber last night said it would reclassify its UK drivers as “workers”.
The decision means 70,000 drivers will be entitled to holiday pay and automatic enrollment in a workplace pension scheme.
The Supreme Court ruled that drivers were effectively under Uber’s exclusive management control while they were logged on to the company’s app and therefore could not be described as self-employed.
Matthew Taylor told the Evening Standard: “It is good to see Uber finally abiding by the spirit of the law and accepting the case well made by the Supreme Court a few weeks ago.”
He added, however, that the question remained about whether workers should be on the minimum wage as soon as they sign up for work on the app.
Controversially, Uber last night said workers will guarantee drivers the minimum wage only for the time they are assigned to trips, meaning they will not be paid while waiting around for a fare.
This could pitch it against Lord Justice Leggatt’s ruling in the Supreme Court that “working time” should begin from the moment the driver is logged on and ready to work.
While he raised these key points, Taylor said: “On balance it is better that people have worker status and lose some flexibility, but some people will not agree.”
He added: “Although I welcome Uber’s decision, there are now different companies with different rules. Until the government legislates to clarify employment status through primary legislation, there will be no clarity.”
Taylor has said recently there had been a “deafening silence” from ministers on the landmark employment reforms for gig workers trumpeted by Boris Johnson more than a year ago.
He said it was vital to have clarification on the definitions of whether companies have “supervision and control” over workers.