Mary Walker responds to supreme court ruling which says Uber drivers are workers

Friday 19th February 2021

Mary Walker, partner at Gordons and an employment law specialist, has been quoted in the national press including Mail Online responding to a historic ruling which will shape the future of the gig economy.

On Friday the Supreme Court ruled that 60,000 Uber drivers should be classed as workers, which means they are entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and the minimum wage. It could to widespread compensation claims and will almost certainly have wider consequences for the gig economy.

Mary Walker said: “This decision by the Supreme Court emphasises that the reality of a working relationship is the main factor when considering worker status. It has a massive impact on the whole gig economy. The resulting ability for the Uber drivers to claim backpay for minimum wage and unpaid holiday pay will have many gig businesses reviewing their practices and the associated risks as a matter of urgency. The ripples from this decision will travel far.”

“The decision goes to the heart of the gig economy structure. The lean, low-cost model is eroded by the need to pay minimum wage and to allow holiday. Margins will narrow and some businesses will simply be unable to continue trading with the increased cost base. Others will be able to remodel but perhaps with fewer workers.”