Swiss Insurance Agency Says Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Freelancers

The agency believes drivers should be treated as employees because they can’t set their own prices.

byAaron Brown| UPDATED Jan 5, 2017 8:41 PM
Swiss Insurance Agency Says Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Freelancers

Adding to the already complicated fight over whether or not Uber drivers should be classified as employees or freelancers, a Swiss insurance agency has announced it considers Uber drivers employees who are eligible to receive social security payments from the ride-hailing company, reports say.

Suva, a Swiss work accident-related insurance company, considers Uber drivers to be employees because they have to deal with consequences if they break the rules the company sets, and because drivers are not allowed to set their own pricing or payment options, Reuters reports. Suva further explained that its decision arose from working with a single driver who wanted to clarify what type of role he had with the company, instead of looking at Uber's general practices.

"For us it is not about the company but about the person involved," a Suva spokesperson said to Reuters.

In response, Uber said it will be appealing the decision from the agency, Reuters reports.

"Taxi dispatchers have had exactly this issue for years and yet today there is not one driver employed by a big dispatcher in cities such as Zurich or Geneva," Uber General Manager Rasoul Jalali said to Reuters. "So this is nothing new in Switzerland and we will challenge it, just as others have...Drivers using the Uber app are independent contractors who enjoy all the flexibility and freedom that come with being self-employed." 

This is hardly the first time Uber's decision to consider its drivers contractors, not employees, has come under fire from outside forces. In October, a British court ruled the company should consider its drivers to be employees, and give them vacation pay; two months before that, a U.S. judge rejected the company's attempt to settle with a group of drivers suing Uber over their contention that they weren't freelancers, and deserved compensation for expenses.