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An update on today’s Supreme Court verdict

February 19, 2021 / United Kingdom

Earlier today the UK Supreme Court ruled that a small group of drivers using the Uber app in 2016 should be classified as workers

After this small group of drivers went to an employment tribunal, the case wound its way through the courts over the last few years, ultimately ending up before the UK Supreme Court. Today we learned that our case was not successful and this group of drivers from 2016 should have been classified as workers. The verdict does not focus on the other drivers on the app, nor does it relate to couriers who earn on Uber Eats.

Worker is a UK specific legal classification and a worker is not an employee. Employee status was not claimed in the litigation and so this ruling does not find the claimants to be employees.

Over the last few years we have made significant changes to our business and have been guided by drivers every step of the way. Many of the examples called out in the judgement are no longer relevant. For example, drivers now have full transparency over the price and destination of their trip, and since 2017 there has been no repercussion for rejecting multiple consecutive trips.

Drivers told us that they wanted protections such as free insurance to cover sickness or injury, but not at the cost of flexibility. They want to remain independent, accessing flexible earnings opportunities when they want it, and protection and benefits when they need it. Nearly 90% say that this flexibility is the most important reason they use the Uber app to earn

And self-employment is nothing new to the taxi and private hire industry. In 2019/20, 83% of all taxi and private hire drivers in England were self-employed and one in four worked part time, a number which has been broadly stable over the last 10 years.

Charlie, a driver in London, explains why he uses the app: 

At a time when we need more jobs, not fewer, we believe Uber and other platforms can be a bridge to a sustainable economic recovery.

We’ve made a lot of progress in recent years, but we know there is more to do. We will now launch a nationwide consultation to seek the views of all active drivers who use our app in the UK. We want to understand what drivers value about Uber and – crucially – where things could improve.

Over the coming weeks, we will share the outcome of this process and next steps.

Learn more about the changes we’ve made to the app since 2016 to give drivers even more control over how they earn: