The Uber case has now been decided in the Employment Tribunal. Whilst the Uber drivers' case has been centred around whether they should be entitled to the usual benefits offered to employees (such as the national minimum wage, pensions, paid holiday and paid rest breaks), the case has repercussions for tax.
The employment and tax tests as to whether an individual is an employee are very similar but there are occasions where HMRC are happy to claim that they do not need to follow an employment tribunal's decision. In this case, however, is most likely that HMRC will want to follow the ruling for tax purposes. Whilst the higher personal NIC rate for employees, and the consequences of any failure to pay the minimum wage will be of interest to the drivers, the main target for HMRC is likely to be pursuing Uber for the secondary National Insurance Contributions that have not been paid.
This case will have wide ranging implications for other sectors that use a similar business model and Jane Ellison's recently announced new team at HMRC that is focusing on workers’ employment status will be busy for the foreseeable future.
However, given the amounts involved and the number of businesses that use a similar model and are likely to be affected, this case is unlikely to be the last we hear of this – especially as Uber has already announced its intention to appeal.
The ruling by a London employment tribunal means drivers for the ride-hailing app will be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Minimum Wage. The GMB union described the decision as a "monumental victory" for some 30,000 drivers in England and Wales.