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Uber and the ‘gig’ economy

The use of cutting-edge apps does not preclude employment rights, as the decision over the status of Uber drivers has demonstrated, writes Snigdha Nag

15 November 2016

On 28 October 2016, the employment tribunal delivered the most hotly anticipated decision of the year in Aslam, Farrar and others v Uber (Case Nos 2202551/2015 and others). The Uber case was the first big test of how the gig economy measured up to decades-old principles of employment law.

The GMB union brought a test case against Uber on behalf of 17 drivers in the employment tribunal, arguing the drivers were workers rather than self-employed or employees.

The employment tribunal accepted this, meaning the drivers now accrue certain statutory rights, such as the maximum working week of 48 hours (on average), 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave, rest breaks, weekend and overnight breaks, national minimum or living wage (depending on the age of the driver), protection for whistleblowers, protection from unlawful deductions from their pay, and family-friendly rights (parental, ...

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