IPSE approves new Uber benefits

Tuesday 15 August 2017

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has welcomed new benefits for Uber drivers, including in-app tipping services. 

Paid waiting time for riders, two-minute cancellation fees, options to set destination and arrival time preferences and a new “no thanks” button to decline rides are some of the other features set to be introduced by the transport company.

There will also be more control over trip requests and fairer ratings systems. All of these changes will come into effect in the next few weeks. It is hoped the new measures will give drivers more freedom, control and autonomy than ever before.

Jonathan Lima-Matthews, IPSE’s senior policy adviser, said it is positive to see Uber improve its platform by introducing the changes, which reduce some of the risks associated with self-employment. 

These latest measures come after the Taylor Review, which looked into modern working practices and the gig economy (where professionals take on short-term roles from organisations).

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Arts, led the investigation and produced results last month (July), publishing six principles for a better working economy.

Among these was a push for specialists in the gig economy to be distinguished from other self-employed professionals. Mr Taylor describes such workers as “dependent contractors” and recommends they should benefit from “two-way flexibility” with the companies they work for.

IPSE and Uber partnership brings new options for drivers

Prior to the Taylor Review, the gig economy faced criticism within the employment sector.

Perhaps the biggest example of this scrutiny involved Uber, which lost a court case to classify drivers as self-employed in October 2016. The tribunal ruled that workers should be able to access the minimum wage and holiday pay.

The taxi company has been granted an appeal and will be looking to overturn the decision, but it since made progress in offering more support for drivers.

To provide employees with more protection, IPSE and Uber entered a partnership in April of this year to offer a range of benefits. These include injury and illness cover of up to £2,000, as well as jury service cover and access to free advice and support. 

Other benefits include occupational accident cover of up to £300 per week for incidents taking place during a trip, along with accidental death or permanent disablement insurance of £50,000. 

Drivers need to pay £2 a week, with Uber paying the rest of the deal’s £8 weekly price. By joining up, they will also become members of IPSE and join the country’s largest support network of self-employed professionals.

By Victoria McDonnell

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