Employment statuses in light
of the Uber Tribunal

In October last year, Uber drivers won the right to be classed as 'workers' rather than 'self-employed contractors'. Described as a “monumental victory”, the ruling means that the workforce, who were originally thought of as self-employed, will now be entitled to ‘worker’ rights such as holiday pay, paid rest breaks and of course the national minimum wage.

MPs continue to criticise companies like Uber and Deliveroo over their working practices and in light of this, Emily Meredith, HR Manager for Acorn shares further details on what companies need to be aware of.

For the last 13 years, I’ve worked for Acorn; one of the UK’s leading specialist recruiters that prides itself on being able to provide clients with the right people, placing qualified professionals into the right place at the right time.

In short, all employers (regardless of size) should be aware of the 3 different types of employment status in the UK; Self-employed, Worker and Employee.

The type of contract an individual is engaged on will determine what their rights are, so companies need to understand what this means to ensure individuals receive the rights that they are entitled to by law. Contracts should be written in such a way that individuals understand them and employers should also clearly explain an individual’s status to them prior to engagement.

There is a place in the economy for all 3 types of contract as engaging ‘workers’ and ‘self-employed contractors’ allows businesses to be flexible and adaptable, and it can also be of benefit to individuals themselves who opt to work on a flexible basis to suit their personal circumstances.

So, why does the Uber employment tribunal matter?

In short, self-employed contractors are not actually entitled to any of the following; statutory employment rights, statutory paid annual leave, a pension scheme, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity, adoption or parental leave. Workers, on the other hand, are entitled to all of the above.

The recent outcome of this particular case will have implications for any company in the UK that engages self-employed contractors, particularly, if your business operates under the growing ‘gig economy’. It is important to review contracts, working practices and working relationships to ensure that individuals are not being incorrectly categorised and therefore not receiving the basic employment rights that they may be entitled to.

Uber has appealed the Employment Tribunal decision so further clarification will come following the Employment Appeal Tribunal decision.

I appreciate that employment legislation can be complex but it doesn’t need to be. Most importantly, always be clear on the type of contract you’re offering right from the beginning.

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Written by - Emily Meredith | HR Manager, Acorn Recruitment

Date - 11/04/2017