EAT (Judge David Richardson, C Edwards, MV McArthur) 14/11/2018
An employment tribunal had not erred in law in finding that drivers for the professional private hire taxi firm Addison Lee were workers within the Working Time Regulations 1998 reg.2(1) and that the time spent logged on to that firm’s system other than break times was “working time”.
The drivers had brought claims for an entitlement to holiday pay and to the national minimum wage. In order to be entitled, they had to be workers for the purposes of the 1998 Regulations and the National Minimum Wage Act. At first instance, the tribunal found that the drivers were workers within the definition of regulation 2(1)(a), and that the time that they were logged into the company’s system, other than break times was working time.
The EAT held that the tribunal was entitled to conclude that the drivers had undertaken to do any work or services personally for the company. The tribunal had, applying Autoclenz correctly, concluded that the contract did not entirely reflect the true terms of the agreement between the parties. When the drivers logged on they were undertaking to accept the driving jobs they were allocated.
On working time, the EAT held that being available and obliged to accept trips when logged on was an essential part of the service the drivers rendered to the company. The tribunal was correct to find that the drivers satisfied the test of working time when they were logged in, even if not carrying passengers.