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Your burning gig economy questions answered after historic Supreme Court ruling on Uber drivers

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A HISTORIC Supreme Court ruling this week that Uber drivers are workers – not self-employed – is set to have dramatic consequences for millions employed in the soaring gig economy.

Under UK law, a person classed as a worker is entitled to certain employment rights, including the minimum wage, holiday pay and protection from discrimination, which Uber drivers had been denied.

The ruling is set to have dramatic consequences for millions employed in the soaring gig economy

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The ruling is set to have dramatic consequences for millions employed in the soaring gig economyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

One in ten adults is said to be employed in the gig economy ­­— which refers to jobs considered to be provided on a freelance basis. Many are attracted to it because of the freedom it allows them.

But for others, it is categorised by a lack of rights and poor job security.
Alex Deal, employment lawyer at RIAA Barker Gillette, said: “Technology has allowed people to have a more flexible lifestyle but it allows business to take advantage. This ruling will send a clear message to businesses that people working for them must have basic protection.”

Here Alex Deal answers your questions . . .

Q) I’m an Uber driver, how does this affect my pay?

A) Potentially significantly. If drivers have been operating at less than the minimum wage, then it’s going to give them a right to more pay in future. It may also give them a claim to back pay.

Q) I have a small delivery business and I use casual workers. Will this affect me?

A) If people working for you are on call over a set period of time, you may have to provide paid leave and the minimum wage. One reason Uber drivers won is that they could be considered as starting work when they logged in to the app, even if they had not accepted a job. This may impact any business using this model.

Q) I have a zero-hours contract in retail. How might this affect me?

A) There are already protections in relation to zero-hour contracts in that it is unlawful to require someone to work exclusively for a business. This case isn’t going to have a direct effect on this issue.

If Uber drivers have been operating at less than the minimum wage, then the ruling is going to give them a right to more pay in future

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If Uber drivers have been operating at less than the minimum wage, then the ruling is going to give them a right to more pay in futureCredit: Alamy

Q) I am a delivery driver for a major online company three days a week. How does this affect my pay?

A) If you are on call for one firm over a period of time this means you may be entitled to the minimum wage for those hours. And if you work regularly you may be entitled to holiday pay.

Q) I’m a seasonal farm worker. Will this benefit me?

A) No, this is not likely to affect casual farm workers, such as seasonal fruit pickers. They are already entitled to the minimum wage and holiday pay for the period of time they work.

Q) I’m a casual minicab driver. Will I benefit?

A) Not necessarily. Unlike Uber drivers, the average minicab driver decides when they are going to pick someone up and they are the person collecting the fare.

Q) I’m a long-distance delivery driver. Does this affect me?

A) Potentially yes. You may be entitled to the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Q) I have a manufacturing business. What will this mean for me?

A) For most people, working hours are easily measured — you clock in and out — and you can tell if you are paying the minimum wage. This does not affect you.

Q) I work in a care home and I am on call for 24 hours at a time but only work for 12 hours, for which I’m paid. Will I see any change?

A) This case doesn’t impact this area yet. But watch this space.

Q) I work delivering food for an online company. Can I benefit?

A) Potentially yes if you are on call and are not in control of the client relationship ­— although it needs to be legally tested.

Former Uber drivers James Farrar wins Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers not self employed

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk



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How the Gig Economy Helps American Workers, Explained

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Sure, you know that being an Uber driver is great for someone who wants to make their own hours. But did you know that many Americans are choosing freelance work because they need flexibility because of family or other responsibilities?

Did you know that small businesses rely on independent contractors? Or that Americans who were once discouraged because they couldn’t make a job work with their lifestyle are now able to work?

But unfortunately, the gig economy is under attack by leftists. In California, a new law has made many such flexible jobs illegal.

In this “Policy Lab” episode, posted above, we have the facts on the gig economy. Check it out—and if you’re interested in watching more “Policy Lab” episodes, you can view them here.



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Gig economy musn’t push labor back into 19th century – Deutsche Welle

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Gig economy firms ordered to give 60,000 riders contracts in landmark Italian ruling

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FOUR major gig economy firms in Milan have been ordered to employ 60,000 delivery riders and pay €733 million (£635m) in fines in a huge victory for workers’ rights.

The decision follows last Friday’s landmark Uber ruling in the British Supreme Court that found drivers for the company were workers and not self-employed.

Authorities in Italy’s largest city gave Deliveroo, UberEats, JustEat and Foodhino-Glovo 90 days to comply with their order.

Deputy Prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano said: “The vast majority of these riders are employed with occasional self-employment contracts … but it emerged without a shadow of a doubt that they are fully included in the organisation of the company.”

Ms Siciliano also said an IT platform that managed the workers, ranking them according to performance, forced them to labour like slaves without basic employment rights.

“This system actually forces the rider to accept all orders in order not to be demoted in the ranking and get less work,” she said. “This is the reason why it is impossible to take holidays or sick leave.”

Prosecutor Francesco Greco declared that the ruling meant “it is no longer the time to say that they are slaves. It’s time to say that they are citizens.”

The order also places obligations to provide safe bicycles, accident compensation and training to the riders.

 JustEat said it was launching an internal investigation into its workers’ safety and said it had made changes to its business model to “introduce a safer, more controlled and direct system with our workers — as employees.”
 
 But UberEats, Deliveroo Italy and Foodhino-Glovo said they did not agree with the order.
 
“The online food delivery is an industry that operates in full compliance with the rules and is able to guarantee an essential service,” they said.

A worldwide boom in food delivery because of lockdowns imposed by coronavirus has put the spotlight on the plight of couriers worldwide who often lack proper employment rights.

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the rights of gig economy workers on Wednesday. The standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress also began consideration of a draft law strengthening legal protections for workers in “flexible” employment last month following protests over the mistreatment of gig economy workers.

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