In the past, Uber has been critiqued for considering its employees to be independent contractors rather than actual employees, thus making them ineligible for typical employee rights like minimum wage, paid holidays, sick time and rest breaks.
Uber has a shaky history when it comes to its business model and defending it in court. Back in November, the ride-hailing company was able to win over California voters, passing a proposition that would allow Uber to continue to treat its drivers as independent contractors, or gig workers, instead of employees.
Moving forward, the U.K. Supreme Court intends to rule on workers' right Feb. 19, which could harm Uber's business model, according to Reuters. Moreover, the European Commission plans to seek feedback from workers and employers on gig workers' rights on Feb. 24 ahead of drafting a law later this year. Uber, as a result, submitted commentary in a white paper to the European Commission to persuade the 27-nation bloc to adopt the California gig worker model.
"This standard (for platform work) needs to recognise the value of independent work, and be grounded in principles drivers and couriers say are most important to them," CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, stated in a blog post. He added that the integrality of flexibility and control, not only over one's self, but over the entire company as a whole.
"We believe a new approach is possible--one where having access to protections and benefits doesn't come at the cost of flexibility and of job creation," Khosrowshahi added.
The model for Uber that has been laid out by Khosrowshahi in the white paper is primarily based upon improving the working conditions of the employees as well as self-empowerment in terms of taking control of working conditions on a more personal level.