Landmark employment law cases: Uber/Deliveroo – The decision on drivers and riders rights; what could this mean for your business?

This has been a very hot topic recently and we have been overloaded with articles about what the “workers” versus “self-employed” issues/rights means, so now the ruling has been made HR Revolution discuss what this means for businesses going forward.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled on Friday that Uber’s drivers qualify as workers, giving drivers rights such as the minimum wage and holiday pay, resulting in potentially damaging the way the company operates.  Currently the average hourly rate minus fees, petrol and expenses may mean an Uber driver is not earning the minimum wage.

Although Uber argued that their drivers have the freedom to choose when and where they work, the EAT ruled that drivers were effectively working for Uber while the app was switched on, and were not able to make themselves available to other operators as Uber had claimed.  In addition, the way Uber limits driver contact with customers, the language it uses when recruiting drivers and the way it treats those drivers who refuse a fare, resulted in the EAT concluding that Uber exerts control over the drivers, meaning they are to be deemed as workers as opposed to being self-employed and are therefore entitled to worker rights.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/11/10/uber-loses-key-appeal-drivers-rights/

Conversely in the case brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, Deliveroo riders have been ruled “self-employed” by the labour law body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).  This further highlights the complexity of determining the employment status and why it is imperative care is taken when considering whether the individual has worker rights including holiday pay and minimum wage.

The key to this case was that in the contract between Deliveroo and the riders; riders had the freedom to substitute the services to a “mate” both before and after they had accepted a particular job if they wished – allowing other riders to take their place on a job. The CAC found that the right to substitution was genuine in day to day practice and therefore found the riders be self-employed. To further support Deliveroo’s case, the new terms also stated that riders did not have to wear branded clothing.

Both of these decisions have been based on whether there is “control” from the employer to the employee and in the case of Deliveroo the lack of control meant the balance was tipped as the riders having self-employed status.

Riders enjoy being their own boss – having the freedom to choose when and where they work, and riding with other delivery companies at the same time.  In practical terms, this implies they are genuinely self-employed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41983343

What could these rulings mean for your business?

Both of these rulings although contradictory, have significant implications for the gig economy in particular.  It also clearly demonstrates that there is still a lot of ambiguity and confusion around employment status, which is expected to be given clarity by the government by the end of the year.

The outcomes of both these cases emphasises the importance of ensuring you are giving those entitled to employment rights, just that and also ensuring any contractors are complying with any IR35 rules.  It means care and consideration should be exercised by both the employer and employee when entering into an independent contractor agreement on a self-employed basis.

Any business should take guidance from both of these cases as they demonstrate how important it is that your employee status is. Make sure the use of self-employed contractors are being used correctly within your business and not just as a label to get around the rules.  With the number of self-employed contractors increasing significantly, both of these rulings are likely to be significant for employment law in the UK.

The lesson from both of these cases lies around the control identified in the terms and conditions of an independent contractor agreement.  Although this doesn’t set a new precedent as all cases will be judged on their own merits, the control you exert over anyone self-employed within your business should be carefully considered to avoid any similar claims.

Deciding on the appropriate employment status can be difficult for many companies. If you have concerns regarding this, HR Revolution are here to help, get in touch with one of our consultants who can offer you a free consultation to ensure that you are compliant.

Give HR Revolution a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Are you the Employer they WANT to work for…

Now I’m not an employer branding specialist and I don’t have training in how employer brands should be put together or any methodologies that are used.  What I do know is though that having started a couple of businesses myself in the past that it is so important to get your branding right, it says everything about you and the business you are promoting… and has a huge impact on the people that REALLY want to work for you and the products and services you are promoting.

As business owners we all have a mission… to make a success of our business! For each of us though that success will be different; revenue, size, growth, reputation, global domination but we all have the same mission… to be successful.

To achieve this there are many key objectives to focus on; ensuring your products and services are right for the market, driving profits, hiring the right team, finding the best suppliers for quality, cost and delivery.   To get this all right you must focus on your brand message… the message that people (people being, potential customers, suppliers or employees!!) see you are giving off to the business world!

Think of a business that you would love to emulate, a business that if you were a potential employee, you would love to work for.  What attracts you to them? In the beginning it will be the brand that got you interested in the first place. Think Apple, Nike, IBM, Google, Adidas, Victoria Secret, Ralph Lauren, Porsche, VW… their brands are all very well defined and have an air of trend about them that makes you want to belong to their club!  Just like being back at school!  As human beings we naturally want to belong, to be part of a tribe, and that’s how the branding process works… learn how to build your own club/tribe and you’re half way there.

How do you know what your ‘club’ or ‘tribe’ should be?

Well that depends on what your culture is… at the centre of your brand, is the beating heart of your culture… once you have worked out exactly what that is and can put that down on paper – hey presto! your employer brand begins…

  • What are the things that make your best employees tick?
  • What is the ethos of the business?
  • What is important to you as a business owner, your morals, your ethics in business?
  • What do you expect from your teams?
  • Every brand has a promise… what is your promise to potential employees?

These are just some of the starting questions to ask yourself.

Now all you need to do is build your employee offering around that… create your job expectations, training manuals and induction and orientation programmes.  Design and tailor your appraisal and review processes and your employee handbooks to mirror and echo this brand promise and expectation and your people processes are and ready to roll.

And before you know it, you ARE an Employer of choice!

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What does your employer brand promise?

Now I’m not an employer branding specialist, I don’t have training in how employer brands should be put together or indeed any methodologies that are used, but what I do know is that by starting a couple of businesses myself in the past it is so important to get your branding right, it says everything about you and the business you are promoting… and has a huge impact in the people that REALLY want to work for you and the products and services you are promoting.

As business owners we all have a mission.. to make a success of our business!  For each of us that success will be different; revenue, size, growth, reputation, global domination whatever it is we all have the same mission… to be successful.

To achieve that mission there are many key objectives to focus on; ensuring your product and service is right for the market, driving profits, hiring the right team to get you there, finding the best suppliers for quality, cost and delivery; to get this all right you must focus on your brand message…  the message that people (those people that could be potential customers, suppliers or employees!!) see… the vibe you are giving off to the business world!

Think of a business that you would love to emulate, a business that if you were a potential employee, you would love to work for… why?  What attracts you to them? In the main it will be the brand that has got you interested in the first place.  Think Apple, Nike, IBM, Google, Adidas, Victoria Secrets, Ralph Lauren, Porsche, VW… their brands are all very well defined and have an air of trend about them that makes you want to belong to their club! Just like being back at school! As human beings we naturally want to belong, to be part of a tribe, and that’s how the branding process works… learn how to build your own club your tribe and you are half way there.

How do you know what your ‘club’ is or your ‘tribe’ should be?

Well that depends on what your culture is… at the centre of your brand is the beating heart of your culture… once you have worked out exactly what that is and can put that down in paper and hey presto! Your employer brand begins…

– What are the things that make your best employees tick?

– What is the ethos of the business?

– What is important to you as a business owner, your morals, your ethics in business?

– What do you expect from your teams?

– Every brand has a promise… what is your promise to potential employees?

These are just some of the starting questions to ask yourself.

Now all you need to do is build your employee offering around that… create your job expectations, training manuals, build your induction and orientation programmes, design and tailor your appraisal and review processes and your staff handbooks to mirror and echo this brand promise and expectation and voilà your people processes are in place and ready to roll.

HRREV Blogger, HR Revolution | HR Outsourcing UK