This can be a distressing subject and I sympathise with anyone who has recently been dismissed.
While there is a clear process in place for couriers, private hire drivers and delivery drivers who are employees, including certain employment protections, for those who are independent third party contractors this has not always been the case and there are a significant number of app-based drivers operating in the gig economy.
On 19 February 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are 'workers' and therefore may be entitled to the protections and benefits that come with this distinction, including the right to the National Minimum Wage and paid holiday. As the highest court, this ruling is final and I welcome the clarity it gives to Uber workers.
An individual’s entitlement to rights at work is determined by their employment status, employee, worker or self-employed, and the UK has a robust framework in place. As such, app-based courier service workers can be classed under any of these depending on their employment relationship. Employees are entitled to all rights including unfair dismissal (subject to qualifying periods) and have responsibilities towards their employer. So-called “limb (b) workers” are only entitled to some rights such as the National Minimum Wage but have increased flexibility and fewer obligations to their employer. The self-employed generally have no employment rights but have complete flexibility in their work.
In light of the Supreme Court's ruling, I am pleased that the Government is considering options to improve clarity on employment status and employment law, and the Government is working with stakeholders and cross-Government on how best to address it in a post-COVID scenario. In the meantime, it is now for Uber and other gig economy businesses to ensure that they are fulfilling their legal responsibilities.