In response to the UK Supreme Court’s ruling in February, Uber is reclassifying its 70,000 UK drivers from independent contractors to workers. The ruling determined that Uber drivers are not independent contractors because their activities are “very tightly defined and controlled by Uber.”
As workers, which is a classification unique to UK employment law, drivers are not considered employees, but they will have access to benefits like minimum wage, vacation time, and a pension. It’s important to note that Uber did not apply these changes to Uber Eats food delivery drivers, only rideshare drivers.
The set minimum wage will be based on active time after a trip is accepted and after expenses. That decision, however, received backlash from drivers, considering the court determined that drivers are working from the time they turn on Uber’s app. Uber’s policy changes mean that drivers could receive 40-50% less than they’re owed. In a statement from Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, the former drivers who led the legal action against Uber, they said, “While Uber undoubtedly has made progress here, we cannot accept anything less than full compliance with legal minimums.”
In an op-ed from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, he said, “Following last month’s UK Supreme Court ruling, we could have continued to dispute drivers’ rights to any of these protections in court. Instead, we have decided to turn the page. We have been calling for updates to legal frameworks, both in the US and the EU, that would guarantee benefits and protection for independent workers without removing the flexibility that makes this type of work so attractive to them in the first place.”
According to CNN, the ruling marks a significant defeat for Uber in the United Kingdom, as Uber continues to defend its controversial business model of treating workers as independent contractors. This change in the UK follows the passing of Proposition 22 in California, where Uber is now exempt from a state law that would have required it to reclassify drivers and delivery people as employees.
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