Written by Jason Brennan, Director of Leadership and Wellness at Wrkit
A landmark ruling from the Supreme Court means that Uber will be reclassifying its 70,000 UK drivers as workers rather than self-employed contractors. This means Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage, holiday pay and other benefits which are not enjoyed by gig economy workers for the first time.
Minimum pay of the £8.72 living wage is one of the ruling’s perks for drivers, and workplace wellness experts say that the move is a significant step forward in supporting the wellbeing of gig economy workers.
Jason Brennan, Director of Leadership and Wellness at Wrkit, said on the ruling: “Working in the gig economy can have negative effects on workers’ wellness. Hours are inconsistent and often anti-social, and many workers do not know how much work they will get or how much money they will earn.
“The pandemic has made the past year especially difficult for Uber drivers due to stay at home orders and decreased trust in public transport methods. The company has now been forced into taking seemingly simple steps to improve its employee experience which in turn will increase job satisfaction and wellness levels. By providing workers with basic rights, such as living wage, holiday allowance and a pension scheme, drivers are likely to be more engaged with their jobs and extra financial support will help to reduce stress levels outside of work.
“The ruling is a positive step forwards for the wider gig economy as other business models which operate using freelance contractors may have to follow Uber’s lead. By extending employee benefits to Uber drivers, Deliveroo delivery riders and other similar roles, businesses will enjoy heightened employee engagement, retention and wellness. Once businesses have given their employees basic rights such as holiday pay, they can look at extending employee benefits packages to include resources, training, discounts and activities to continue to improve the wellness of workers. The positive outcomes of this for the employee and wider company will follow.”