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Swiss court rules that Uber drivers are not self employed

Swiss court rules that Uber drivers are not self employed

An insurance court in Zurich has ruled that drivers for the gig-economy service app Uber, who specialise in food delivery and taxi services, are employees, rather than independent workers, as the company has maintained for a long time. The implication of the ruling is that Uber will now have to pay social contributions for its employees in Zurich. 

Swiss ruling is a blow to the US-based taxi service

The new ruling from the cantonal court in Zurich will be a blow to the US-based firm Uber, especially as other Swiss cantons will consider the implications of the case for their own region. Uber will now be required to pay social security contributions for its drivers in Zurich, as well as retroactive payments dated back to 2014. 

The company will have to pay up around 5,2 million Swiss francs for the year of 2014 alone, and it is expected that the new payments for social security and insurance for its employees will set the company back a large sum of money.

The case was brought against Uber by the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) and the Zurich social security services, and although the initial case heard in the court related to the now-defunct UberPop service (which offered cheaper services), it is understood that the judgment is applicable to all Uber business in the canton of Zurich

Uber argues that its workers are independent

Despite the judgment, Uber maintains that its drivers are self-employed, and describes them as “independent workers”. The firm argues this on the basis that drivers have the capability to choose when they work, and precisely which clients they agree to drive

Contrary to this, the court found that the relationship between Uber and its drivers is one of dependence, as seen in the relationship between an employer and their employees. 

Uber representatives criticised the recent judgment in an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, saying that the ruling “ignores the fact that the majority of drivers in Switzerland want to remain independent”, and has stated it plans to appeal. 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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