What can small businesses learn from the changes to Uber and Deliveroo?

At the end of last month a landmark employment tribunal ruling saw Uber obliged to recognise its drivers as employees rather than self-employed contractors.

Deliveroo drivers are now demanding that their company follow suit, but what can small business owners take away from this legal shift?

What’s changed for Uber and Deliveroo?

The ruling means that Uber drivers must now be considered employees rather than self-employed workers. While Uber argued that the drivers were not employees but simply used their technology, the judges in the case called this idea ‘absurd’.

In practice, this means Uber drivers will now be entitled to sick pay, minimum wage, and paid holiday time.

As yet, nothing has changed for Deliveroo, but the company’s couriers are asking that they be recognised as employees the same way Uber drivers will now be, and the ruling has opened the door for that possibility.

Do I have employees, freelancers or contractors?

It’s important to know whether the people who work for you are legally considered self-employed or employed so you can be sure you’re staying the right side of the law.

If you work out your employees’ national insurance contributions and tax then this generally means you’re their employer.

This isn’t a definitive way of establishing whether your workers are considered employees - especially given that the law could change in light of the Uber ruling - but it is a good rule of thumb.

What are employees entitled to?

Like Uber’s drivers, your employees are entitled to sick pay, paid annual leave and national minimum wage, as well as other benefits such as maternity and paternity leave.

Additionally, most businesses that employ staff, even on a casual basis, are required by law to have an employers’ liability insurance policy in place.

You can check out our employers’ liability insurance FAQ to find out more.

What are my rights if I’m self employed?

If you yourself are self employed, it’s important to know what you’re entitled to. For the most part your rights will be included in the contracts you have with your client, and can include terms such as working hours, location of work and payment.

However, if you’re self employed via an app like Uber and Deliveroo - Handy or Taskrabbit, for example - then your legal status may be subject to change as these cases develop, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the news.

Do you think this ruling will affect your business? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for employers’ liability cover?

As the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, we specialise in employers’ liability insurance. We’ll run you a quick, tailored quote right now online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit.

Start your quote