After a long-running legal battle the Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers should be classed as workers not self-employed, exposing the company to claims for back pay from drivers.

The judgement should prompt employers, and particularly those working within the “Gig economy”, to audit their arrangements with their workforce to ensure they are not breaching employment regulations, according to a leading employment lawyer from national law firm Bevan Brittan.

The Supreme Court judgment means that thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to the national minimum wage calculated by reference to the period they are logged onto the App and ready and willing to accept trips, not just when they are driving passengers. They are also entitled to 5.6 days of paid annual leave each year.

“With the drivers classed as workers not self-employed they are entitled to rights under the Working Time Regulations and Minimum Wage Act. The affected workers will be able to claim up to two years’ back pay for national minimum wage breaches in the Employment Tribunal and up to six years in the county court,” says Julian Hoskins, partner in the Employment, Immigration and Pensions team at Bevan Brittan.

“The broader point for all employers is that as a result of this judgment they should audit their arrangements with their workforce to ensure they don’t fall foul of this decision. This is particularly the case where the contractual documentation is place does not correspond with the reality of the working relationship. Not doing this means there could be a risk of ongoing claims.” adds Julian.

Bevan Brittan’s Employment, Pensions & Immigration practice has continued to grow its profile and client base in the past 12 months, including in sectors such as independent health and social care, housing, higher education, commercial services, central and local government and in insurance and finance, as well as working with the NHS.

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