From March 17, Uber will classify all of its UK-based drivers as workers, reports The New York Times. Although they are not full employees of the company, it is a distinction that will grant more than 70,000 people access to benefits such as minimum wage. In one SEC filing, Uber said it would enroll eligible drivers in a plan in which the company would contribute about three percent of their wages to their pensions. It will also provide all drivers with paid vacation at 12.07% of their earnings.
The move comes after the company lost a landmark legal battle in February. In the middle of last month, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom confirmed a decision That said, Uber drivers nationwide are entitled to the legal rights and protections afforded to workers. The case involved a small group of drivers, and at first it appeared that Uber would resist attempts to force it to provide additional protection to its other drivers. “The verdict does not focus on other drivers in the app, nor on couriers who earn on Uber Eats,” the company said in a statement. blog post on the decision. However, in an editorial published today in The evening standard, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, “We could have continued to challenge drivers’ rights to any of these protections in court. Instead, we decided to turn the page.”
It is not clear how today’s decision will affect the company’s position on worker protection in the future. Uber has always fought to maintain the classification of entrepreneurs that underpins its business model. In California, the company has spent millions to support Proposition 22 in the 2020 election to bypass the AB5 law, who sought better rights and protections for workers in the odd-job economy.