Uber announces pension roll out; calls for cross-industry scheme

Uber has announced roll-out plans for the first ever pension scheme for flexible workers in the private hire vehicle industry, urging other operators, such as Bolt, Addison Lee and Ola, to work with them to create a cross-industry pension scheme.

Eligible drivers will be auto-enrolled in the scheme, to be provided by Now Pensions and managed by Adecco, with Uber contributing 3 per cent of a driver’s earnings into the pension pot, whilst drivers can choose to contribute a minimum of 5 per cent of qualifying earnings.

Uber previously confirmed that its drivers would be given a pension following a Supreme Court decision earlier this year, which ruled that Uber drivers were not self-employed.

Whilst the pension scheme will only cover Uber drivers, Uber has extended an invitation to work with all operators to create a cross-industry pension scheme, particularly given that many drivers also work with operators, such as Bolt, Addison Lee an Ola.

Uber regional general manager of Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, commented: “We want to ensure that all eligible drivers can benefit no matter who they earn with, so today I am extending an invitation to work with operators such as Bolt, Addison Lee and Ola to create a cross-industry pension scheme.

"The new worker rights provided to drivers who use the Uber app are and save for their futures.”

The plans have been welcomed by Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPC) chair, Stephen Timms, who also confirmed that the WPC has called on government ministers for a timetable for its promised Employment Bill, to improve gig-economy protections.

Timms stated: “I applaud this launch, following on from the recent court case and the landmark agreement between Uber and GMB. It extends company-supported pension saving to a large new cohort of workers, including many in my constituency.

“I also welcome Uber’s call for a cross-sector approach to pension saving. The all-party Work and Pensions Select Committee has called on ministers for a timetable for its promised Employment Bill, to improve protections for all gig-economy workers.”

A spokesperson from The Pensions Regulator added: “We note the positive steps Uber are taking to ensure their staff receive the pensions they are entitled to. We want to see all eligible workers in this sector have access to pensions saving.

“The gig economy is set to grow further as the UK emerges from the pandemic and businesses recover and it is only right that all workers contributing to the economy receive the pensions they are entitled to. We welcome innovative solutions by the industry which aim to give staff across the sector the opportunity to save for their retirement.

“Employers in the gig economy should recognise and comply with their automatic enrolment responsibilities voluntarily and promptly. We will take enforcement action where appropriate to ensure all savers are protected.”

Now Pensions chief executive, Patrick Luthi, said the provider was "proud" to be selected as Uber’s pensions partner and to play its part in delivering access to "valuable pension benefits to their UK drivers".

“This is a landmark step forward for this sector and we pledge our support to develop a cross-industry pension scheme," he continued.

"Furthermore, we want to help other industries provide their flexible workers with access to pensions as part of our mission to create a fair pension system for all.”

Adecco regional president of Northern Europe, Alex Fleming, added: “We are really pleased to be partnering with Uber on their pension scheme for flexible workers in the PHV industry.

"As the UK labour market continues to be redefined as a result of the global pandemic, the need for equitable treatment and greater security is integral to building back better and supporting flexible workers.

"This is an industry first that not only paves the way in improving workers’ rights and protections, but also contributes to sustainable futures for drivers.”

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