Uber said on Tuesday that paying National Insurance contributions for its British drivers would add tens of millions of pounds to the taxi app’s costs were they to be deemed employees.
Uber classifies its around 50,000 drivers in Britain as self-employed, affording them only basic entitlements, while employees also receive rights such as sick pay and the minimum wage.
“I don’t have the precise figures … but I’m certain it would be the tens of millions certainly,” the firm’s UK Head of Policy Andrew Byrne told parliament’s business committee.
Also appearing before lawmakers, Deliveroo’s UK and Ireland Managing Director Dan Warne said additional costs including National Insurance contributions, would add around GBP 1 ($1.32) to the cost of each delivery.
Firms operating in the so-called gig economy – whereby people tend to work for different companies without a fixed contract – have been criticized by unions and some lawmakers for what they call exploitative practices.
Uber and Deliveroo both say their drivers enjoy the flexibility they offer but last year two drivers won a tribunal hearing against Uber and were granted worker rights, in a decision which the Silicon Valley firm appealed last month.