09.01.2017

Switzerland says Uber driver is employee, not freelance

400A Swiss insurance agency has ruled that drivers working for ride-hailing company Uber are classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

The decision means that Uber is required to pay earnings-based social security contributions. Because it's an administrative decision, the next step for the dispute – one that Uber's bound to take – is to call in the lawyers and head for the courts.

This follows a similar ruling by a UK employment tribunal in October which found that the two Uber drivers bringing the claim were employed as workers by Uber, rather than being freelance contractors.

Swiss broadcaster SRF says the Suva agency made its decision on the status of Uber drivers in the market on account of their inability to set price or payment type, and because they are threatened with consequences from Uber if they do not fulfill its requirements.

A Suva spokesman told Reuters that the decision is not a general ruling on Uber’s business model, but instead concerns a particular driver who sought clarification on his status. “For us it is not about the company but about the person involved,” he explained.

According to a report, the ruling means workers of the gig economy, at least in the case of Uber, get holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage. Uber, noted the report, plans to appeal the ruling.

Switzerland's Federal Council is soon to publish a report into whether or not services like Uber need special regulatory treatment.


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