Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders should be classed as “dependent contractors” rather than “self-employed” or “workers”, according to a major review of British work.
If the government adopts the recommendation, contractors will be entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and parental pay. They will also be paid the minimum wage – but only if they work at peak times.
The government-commissioned review was conduct by Matthew Taylor, who writes: “All work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment.”
The rules would apply to everyone within the so-called gig economy – the collection of firms that rely on casual workers to carry out services typically organised through an app.
Under the proposals, minimum wage payments would be made on a “piece rate basis”, meaning gig economy workers would only be guaranteed the wage if they carry out jobs when demand is high.
A Deliveroo spokesperson said:
Matthew Taylor’s report rightly highlights both the benefits and popularity of flexible work in the on-demand economy.
Employment law is outdated and this is a great opportunity to make it fit for the 21st Century. The Government needs to ensure that any new measures are pro growth so that companies can continue to expand and create well paid opportunities for people in the UK. The Government should be under no illusions that any moves to restrict flexibility could undermine the very thing that attracts people to work in this sector.
As we have made clear, we want to continue offering riders the flexible work they want whilst also providing benefits. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government so we can end this trade off between flexibility and security.
Andrew Byrne, Head of Policy for Uber in the UK, said:
We welcome this report which looks at the rise in self-employment and new ways of working which predate apps like Uber. Indeed almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed.
The main reason why people say they sign up to drive with Uber is so they can be their own boss. With our app drivers are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours. We would welcome greater clarity in the law over different types of employment status.
Drivers using Uber made average fares of £15 per hour last year after our service fee and, even after costs, the average driver took home well over the National Living Wage. We know drivers want more security too which is why we’re already investing in discounted illness and injury cover, and will be introducing further improvements soon.