Under these facts, are Uber drivers’ employees or independent contractors? Why?
The discussion on whether an organizational worker is an employee or an independent contractor has been there since time immemorial. For instance, most of the workers are confronted with the dilemma of determining whether they are independent contractors or formally employed employees. However, this is not an easy question as it requires one to have a mastery of the requirements of both the employees’ contract and other contractual agreements with the clients. To start with, an employee is a person who is employed and agrees to offer their services in return for wages and salaries paid at a stipulated period. In most cases, employees are paid weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. Generally, employees are entitled to some other benefits that independent contractors are not entitled to. For instance, employees are entitled to wage and labor hours. An agreement is made that the employee will deliver their services under the stipulated wages for a certain period before their salaries are reviewed.
Additionally, employees are entitled to annual and monthly leaves. Most of the countries have enforced legislation that every employer must provide at least one day in a week when the employee will be left to relax and thus engage in their private businesses. Moreover, an employment contract involves employees’ compensation benefits. This is whereby; the employer agrees to compensate the employee in case they are injured or incapacitated in the line of duty. Further, an employment act provides for the dismissal terms, whereby the employer must inform the employee of their intention to relieve them of their obligations. This period varies from country to country, but most states provide for at least one month’s termination notice to the employee. Finally, in most cases, the tools of work are provided by the employer, and thus they decide who and when to use them.
On the other hand, independent contractors have the following characteristics. To start with, the independent contractors are the owners of the factors of production, including the machinery used or capital invested. More so, independent contractors usually determine their work hours. Therefore, they decide when to work or not to work. Further, independent contractors have a specific qualification that is not sponsored by the client. Therefore, these people are already professionals in a particular field, and thus they are not trained by the employers as it is the case in the employment contract. Finally, the independent contractors have a standard billing for their work. Therefore, the contractors submit their invoices demanding payment after delivering their services. This is also contrary to the employer’s terms, which provide for wages and salaries.
Owing to such differences, among others not mentioned, Uber drivers can be termed as independent contractors and not employees. This is because; they fulfill all the conditions set for the independent contractors across all industries.