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What Work Rights do Uber Drivers Have?

What Work Rights do Uber Drivers Have?

Uber has grown in popularity amongst both passengers and drivers. Find out in this guide what work rights you'll have as an Uber driver.

10th March 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What do Uber driver work rights mean in Australia where they are considered contractors not employees? We know that they are required to have set up ABN’s and they get paid as contractors of Uber. We also know that they must be advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement. The same can be said for almost any legal system. Let’s take a look at this in more depth.

The difference between employees and contractors

We will go over this briefly, because another guide of ours looks into this in more detail. The difference between employee and contractor is how they get paid, what leave they get, the way they work and how they work. Employees are governed by company rules, whereas contractors are not bound by such thing. Instead the law and the contract they sign are there to bind the contractor to the completion of the job.

The ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia to include ride sharing on a legal level. This is also a prime example of how important it is for the government to be proactive when new technology arises and implement laws before it’s too late. The same can be said for your legal paperwork. Being as prepared and in control of your legal affairs is the best way to mitigate your risk by far.

Work hours

The benefits for Uber drivers is that they are essentially their own boss. They can choose when to start driving, when to stop driving, and even accept or reject passengers. Another very big advantage is the security of getting paid. With taxi’s being paid after the trip is concluded, they are bound to run in with people who bolt out the door to avoid payment. With Uber, it’s linked to your credit cards so payment is ensured.

Performance

Employees come under constant review for their performance, on the other hand contractors are hired to complete the job. There is less focus on how they complete the job, and more focus that the job is completed. So all Uber drivers who simply transport passengers to their destination have already fulfilled their expectation.

Risk

One of the biggest drawbacks is the risk that the contractor takes. As an employee, your employer is the one who assumes all risk. If you make a mistake or get injured on work premises, your employer is still the one who is liable. This is why companies take work health and safety so seriously. As a contractor, you are the one who assumes all the risk. This is why it is so important that all Uber drivers have their own insurance policy to protect them as well.

As an example, if your passenger opens a door and it hits another car, Uber has no liability to cover that and repair the other car. This all falls on the shoulders of the drivers.

Superannuation and tax

As contractors, Uber drivers do not get paid superannuation like regular employees. Saving up their own super fund is now up to them, which can be a major disadvantage for some drivers.

The same goes for GST and tax. So in the short run, contractor gets paid more than employees if we compare regular payslips. However, they need to make sure that they have enough put side when tax time comes and they need to pay all of their taxes.

It is common for contractors to forget about this part, and when they don’t have enough to pay for the tax this is where they can encounter trouble.

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Leave

As mentioned, employees have leave rights and certain amount of days they can take leave for. Uber drivers as contractors do not receive such a benefit. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage. As they dictate their own hours, they could take 2 months off for leave and return to work without having to answer to any boss. Of course during this time they will not be earning any income at all.

Fairwork Protections

Whether you are an employee or contractor, there are some Fairwork protections that you can rely on. These are not quite the same Uber driver work rights that are specific to your job, but more overarching legal rights you can be protected with.

Workplace rights

You have the capacity and legal right to make a complaint or inquiry to a person or legal body if you believe something is not being done legally. This matter will be investigated for you and the matter corrected.

You also have the right to join any industry union if you wish. This can be good idea to have a legal body that is in your corner. These unions can also represent your interests, connect you to the necessary resources and provide assistance as a first point of contact if you have any serious questions.

Discrimination

No person can be discriminated against whether you are an employee or contractor. This is where Fair Work can step in and assist to correct the problem as soon as it arises.

If you believe any part of your legal protection have been breached in any way at all, (not limited to Fairwork), it is strongly recommended that you place this query with a lawyer. They can advise on the situation and possible remedies to correct the breach.

Conclusion

If you have been thinking about starting a new career or side hustle as an Uber driver, it’s never been a better time. Uber driver work rights are balanced with the freedoms they have as contractors compared to employees. In conclusion, being an Uber driver can be very rewarding and freeing in comparison to working under someone else. You just have to be sure that you have taken into consideration all the drawbacks before you take the plunge.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

Author
Taeisha Dou

Taeisha is a Legal intern at Lawpath. She is a Law student at Macquarie University, previously completing her Commerce degree. She has an interest in Commercial Law.