The UK Supreme Court ruling on the employment status of Uber drivers could have major ramifications in New Zealand, an employment law expert has said.
The UK’s highest court has ruled that Uber drivers should not be seen as outside contractors, but as employees of the company.
The ruling means that drivers should have the right to basic employment rights.
Employment expert Max Whitehead said the New Zealand employment tribunal recently convicted an Uber driver, who claimed he was an employee of the rideshare company.
Whitehead expects the case to be appealed following the UK ruling.
“New Zealand law is based on the UK system and in particular the government we have now, it follows UK laws and is about to introduce a law that Britain has introduced also regarding entrepreneurs, ”he said.
“It is quite possible that the New Zealand Supreme Court could determine that in fact these people are employees.”
Whitehead said similar cases testing the employment status of Uber drivers are currently underway in Australia, Canada, France and the United States.
He said if the Supreme Court here followed its British equivalent, the impact would be widespread across various professions.
“Massive, absolutely massive. Hundreds of thousands of people will be affected. A lot of people now [who] believe that entrepreneurs will then be transformed with a court ruling like this. “
Whitehead said it would also impact the public sector, which commonly uses contractors.
He said there would be a significant economic impact if the court ruled in favor of the drivers.
“They could challenge whoever hires them and actually say, ‘I’m an employee now; can you reimburse me for six years of vacation pay, can you reimburse me for the sick leave i had and all these rights, and i’m going to sue you now using employment law ‘.’
TBEN News reported that Uber made changes to its business following the UK Supreme Court ruling.
Uber’s New Zealand company has been asked for comment.