A potential group action by drivers hired by third-party delivery companies is seeking to bring a claim against Amazon over employment rights. The delivery drivers are currently classed as self-employed which means that they are not entitled to provisions such as national minimum wage or holiday pay.
The drivers are arguing that, as Amazon give drivers estimated timings between deliveries on an app that they are expected to meet, set their shifts for them and require them to book time off, Amazon have significant control over their working practices and so the drivers should be provided with either worker or employee status.
The issues in this instance are not too dissimilar to those which were raised by Uber drivers in a case which ended up at the Supreme Court. We reported on the decision of the Supreme Court which determined that the drivers were workers.
There are various factors which will be considered to determine whether an individual is classed as self-employed, a worker or an employee which we have outlined below.
Whether an individual is an employee, worker or self-employed will depend on some or all of the above factors. However, as was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the Uber case, the presence of one of these factors does not necessarily mean that the individual will be an employee. Instead, a thorough examination of the individual's working practices and relationship with the employer will be necessary to determine their status.
While workers do not enjoy the full benefits of employees, they are entitled to paid annual leave and protection against unlawful discrimination amongst other things. Employers who operate their businesses by using self-employed staff will need to be careful to ensure that their working arrangements reflect this in practice. In the case concerning Amazon, if the drivers are successful in their claim, Amazon might have to pay millions in compensation.