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You may have seen widely reported in the press the recent decision concerning Uber drivers. Whilst it might be nothing more than a passing news story this case has the potential to significantly affect the motor industry.
The case considered the status of contractors and whether there is an entitlement to basic employment law protections such as the national minimum wage, holiday pay, the right not to be discriminated against and the right not to have deductions made from their salary.
This is the first in a series of cases to be brought by drivers and couriers over the coming months. On this occasion the Employment Tribunal has ruled that two drivers who provided services to Uber are “workers” within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This means they will be entitled to a limited number of employment rights including 5.6 weeks paid annual leave each year, a maximum 48 hour average working week and rest breaks, the National Minimum Wage (and the National Living Wage) and the protection of the Whistleblowing legislation.
However, as with the British Gas v Lock case it is widely expected that this decision will be appealed, potentially all the way to the Supreme Court, so watch this space.
So what does this mean for the motor industry?
The Uber case is of interest to any employer who uses “contractors” to perform tasks within their business, for example drivers, valeters or independent MOT assessors. In light of this development it is prudent to assess the relationship with any contractors, and particularly the level of control. It can be useful to consider what would happen if the person sent an equally qualified replacement to do the job. If this would be seen as a breach of the agreement between you then this contractor may be a worker.
If you are concerned, remember as a member of the RMI you have access to the legal advice line and our specialist solicitors.
Andrew Macmillan, Solicitor, Motor Industry Legal Services