Shakeup for 'gig' economy following Uber's employment case says Shropshire solicitor
10th November 2016
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Following the announcement last week that Uber lost a tribunal case focused on the employment rights of its drivers, a local solicitor is warning that the ruling could affect thousands of other workers across the Midlands.

The decision was made by Employment Judge Snelson at the London Employment Tribunal on Friday 28th October, in which two Uber drivers won the case that they should be classed as workers rather than self-employed drivers, and receive the national minimum wage and appropriate holiday pay.

Lines becoming blurred

Ryan Bickham, Employment Solicitor at Shropshire-based PCB Solicitors, explained: “In a world where temporary positions or short-term engagements are becoming more prevalent, one of the key questions is exactly where and when do the lines become blurred and such workers become ‘employees’?”

On the back of the Uber case, couriers working for takeaway delivery firm Deliveroo, which currently classes its drivers as self-employed ‘independent contractors’, have already taken legal steps to gain unionisation and workers’ rights such as paid leave.

Many more workers to come forward

“After the ruling against Uber, many other drivers for the firm are expected to come forward, and those working in the ‘gig economy’ such as delivery drivers for firms like Deliveroo, smartphone app developers, and online shops. The Uber case has already seen a shakeup across the employment industry, particularly those offering self-employed jobs as part of a wider organisational structure.

“There are several different definitions in UK law on workers and employees. An employee, for example, has full protection including unfair dismissal and redundancy, and a worker has some protection, including holiday pay, a maximum of 48 hours work a week, rest breaks and an entitlement to receive minimum wage, whilst a ‘gig’ economy worker, might be opted out of all of those.”

The gig economy

Prior to the hearing, PM Theresa May appointed Matthew Taylor to examine the ‘gig economy’ to address concerns about the lack of workers’ rights for individuals in non-standard work arrangements, such as maternity leave, holiday and sick pay, and pensions protections.

“Dealing with any HR and employment law issues can be a tricky and costly experience for any employer, and I’d urge anyone with concerns about workers’ rights, to contact either myself or Edmund Coxhead for advice and guidance,” Ryan concluded.

Expert legal advice

PCB Solicitors LLP is a modern partnership, with offices in Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Knighton, Ludlow and Telford. While they have origins back to 1860, the firm is forward-looking and offers a full range of legal advice for both individuals and businesses, including property, family advice and childcare matters, wills, trusts, probate and estate planning, accident and personal injury, litigation, criminal law and corporate and business law.

For further information about PCB Solicitors’ complete range of legal services, please contact the Shrewsbury Head office on 01743 248148 or visit the website www.pcblaw.co.uk.

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