Uber to Reclassify 70,000 UK Drivers as Employees, Provide Benefits

Uber Technologies Inc. will rework their infrastructure in the UK to classify all their drivers as workers and provide them with benefits, following a ruling from the Supreme Court last month.

Drivers under Uber in the UK will be entitled to the national minimum wage of 8.72 pounds ($12.11) an hour starting today. Uber has described this wage as “an earnings floor”, indicating that drivers will be eligible for pay increases and potential promotions.

The UK is the first nation in the world where Uber has experimented with this business strategy. The total cost of this shift is unclear, but Uber has said it does not expect to change its earnings predictions for 2021.

This news comes after a ruling from the UK Supreme Court on February 19 that unanimously rejected Uber’s claim that its drivers were not considered workers.

Regional General Manager of Uber UK Jamie Heywood has said that it is “an important day” for drivers in the UK, adding that he hopes that “other (ride sharing) operators join us in improving the quality of work” for their members of gig economy businesses.

Other members of the gig economy are concerned that this may sharply increase the cost of operation, as ride sharing apps often operate on a similar business model to Uber. Requiring drivers to be paid wages would likely require gig economy businesses to increase their prices or take a loss in yearly revenue.

Some drivers in the UK are still concerned about working conditions. Uber has stated that drivers will make the minimum wage “while driving customers”, which has made some wonder if that wage does not apply when drivers do not have passengers in their vehicle.

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