Uber will classify about 70,000 managers in the UK as workers and giving them benefits after losing an appeal at the Supreme Court level in February, after a years-long legal battle over their job status. Managers will still not be considered full-time employees, but they will receive a minimum wage, vacation time, and will be enrolled in a retirement plan on March 17th.
The decision in February was one of the biggest victories yet for executives, and for gig workers writing in Britain. But the victory came just months after voters in California approved Prop 22, a ballot that reversed a previous decision to classify executives as employees. And despite repeated allegations that managers as employees would make business more expensive for customers, all the big gig-economy businesses have grown since then anyway. Uber, which helped regulate attempt to pass Prop 22, watch now to make similar moves in the European Union.
The case that Uber lost in February began in 2016 when two executives argued that Uber had too much control over their actions to not are considered their employer. Uber lost, but continued to appeal to the British High Court, which upheld the lower court’s rulings in February.
Uber and companies like it have long argued that classifying drivers would make it too difficult to work if they wanted to, and that flexibility was just as important as benefits and other protections that provide more official job status.
In a report published Tuesday in the Evening Standard, Uara’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said it was becoming “increasingly clear to us that flexibility is not enough and that it should not come at the expense of social protection.” But he added that he believed that “outdated employment laws essentially force the compromise.”