UK: rulings on worker status in gig economy

  • The Court of Appeal has upheld the EAT’s ruling in Uber BV v Aslam that Uber drivers were workers on the basis that the written documentation seeking to establish them as independent contractors did not reflect reality; the drivers were held to be working while they had the Uber app switched on and were within their territory and ready and willing to accept trips. However, Underhill LJ gave a strong dissenting judgment that, in his view, the documentation was consistent with how the parties worked in practice and the fact that it was one-sided due to the unequal bargaining strength of the parties could not justify setting it aside. He also considered that the drivers should only be treated as workers (if at all) from the moment they accept a particular trip. Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Australia: Victorian State Election update: Labor is re-elected for a second term – what does this mean for industrial relations in Victoria over the next four years?

The Victorian state election on Saturday 24 November 2018 was characterised by large swings, with the Liberal party losing several previously safe seats and Premier Daniel Andrews successfully leading the ALP to a clear victory, having significantly increased its majority.

So what will this mean for businesses? Continue reading

Australia: Uber driver not an employee – Fair Work Commission finds

The ceaseless trend towards casualisation and new rules of engagement in the gig economy is a modern fact of life. From bicycle couriers to ride sharers and food deliverers, relationships around work continue to fascinate. In the political realm, parliaments around the world are only slowly starting to grapple with how work is being redefined.

In December last year Deputy President Gostencnik of the Fair Work Commission delivered the first decision in Australia assessing whether an Uber driver is an employee. DP Gostencnik found that for unfair dismissal purposes, an Uber driver was not an employee.

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UK: gig economy developments, including important ECJ ruling on holiday pay, Uber and Deliveroo rulings on worker status, and delay to government proposals

The ECJ has agreed with the Advocate-General’s opinion in King v Sash Windows that workers denied paid holiday can carry over their 4 weeks’ statutory holiday entitlement indefinitely and be paid in lieu of the entire accrued untaken entitlement on termination.  The ruling has significant financial implications for employers with staff potentially mis-categorised as self-employed, particularly where they have a stable and long-serving workforce. Continue reading

UK: Gig economy- Taylor Review released

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices “Good Work” was published yesterday. It considers how technology platforms have impacted working practices and the rights of workers, and examines whether our current legislative and regulatory framework is fit for purpose. The Review focuses on the importance of quality work: “fair and decent work with realistic scope for development and fulfilment” and recommends to the government certain employment and tax reforms.

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EU: Article 29 Working Party provides guidance on processing of employees’ personal data at work

Modern technology enables employees to be tracked over time, across workplaces and their homes, through many different devices, such as smartphones, desktops, tablets and wearable devices. If there are inappropriate limits to the processing, and if it is not transparent, there is a high risk that the legitimate interest of employers in improving efficiency and protecting company assets is not properly balanced with data subjects’ rights and freedoms so that the basis for processing becomes unlawful, according to the EU’s Article 29 Working Party Opinion on data processing at work. Continue reading

UK: Legislation – Employment law reform proposals during the Summer 2017 General Election

The main parties' manifestos for the general election all contained numerous proposed employment law reforms, the Conservatives promising "the greatest expansion in workers' rights by any Conservative government in history" while Labour included a 20 point "plan for security and equality at work" proposing radical changes to the rights of individuals and strengthening the position of unions. The political uncertainty resulting from the outcome of the election means that it is now unclear which, if any, of these proposals will see the light of day.  However, it may be helpful to those planning HR strategy to note the key areas featuring in all the main party manifestos, as these can perhaps be seen as the most likely to see change at some point.  They include:

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Europe: Statutory holiday pay claims- EU Advocate-General publishes opinion on workers denied paid holiday

The ECJ Advocate-General has given his opinion in King v The Sash Window Workshop that employers must make ‘adequate facilities’ (eg, contractual rights or administrative procedures) available to workers in order that they can take annual leave. If those facilities are not made available then workers can claim payment in respect of the 4 weeks' EU-derived statutory annual leave up to the point they are made available or, if they are not made available, up to the termination of their employment, with no limits on carryover.

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