Responding to the news that Uber drivers have won the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed, Tania Bowers, General Counsel at The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) said:
“This is a landmark case – while Uber classed its drivers as independent self-employed contractors who had the choice of where and when they worked, this ruling, if not successfully appealed, means that the drivers will be entitled to the minimum wage, paid holidays and breaks. While not directly affecting the professional recruitment market, the ruling will have a significant impact on the ‘gig economy’ where individuals work for multiple employers day to day without having a fixed contract.
While it is right and proper for workers’ rights to be protected, it is important that the distinction is made between lower paid and potentially vulnerable workers who need this type of protection and professional contractors and interims who do not need – or indeed want such protection.
Recruitment firms have been responsibly supplying compliant agency workers and professional contractors to the employment market for decades before the phrase “gig economy” was coined and will continue to be an essential component of the flexible labour market. Nonetheless it is important that the recruitment sector does not get landed with the responsibility – and ensuing liability – for determining an individual’s employment status – as is planned by the proposed changes to IR35 legislation for workers in the public sector. We believe there is a need for greater clarity and we support the Review of Modern Employment to be undertaken by RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor at the request of the Prime Minister.”