Several months ago, the government commissioned the Taylor Review to undertake “an independent review of employment practices in the modern economy”.
With the rise of the gig economy, there have been increasing concerns about the classification and legal status of workers, who are often burdened with job insecurity and a lack of workers’ rights.
The Taylor Review reflected these changes in the modern economy by suggesting the creation of a new category of worker: “dependent contractor”. If an employee is supervised and controlled, they would no longer be able to be classed as self-employed. This new label would ensure basic employee rights such as sick pay and holiday pay for workers of companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. Although Taylor initially stated he did not wish to burden businesses with extra costs, it is unclear how these rights would be extended without extra costs incurred.
Stephen Morrall, Employment Partner, Hunters Solicitors:
“The gig economy is still developing and some categories of workers currently only have limited protection. The trade unions are right to pressure the government to improve workers’ rights and ensure that they are treated fairly.
It is imperative that employment law and practice catches up with the development of the gig economy, but there is no need for a new employment category of “dependent contractor”.
The retention of zero-hour contracts is good for employers and maintains a high degree of flexibility in the workforce. There is a risk that employees will be exploited, but one hopes that the market will sort out the good employers from the bad ones.
The government cannot legislate to force employers to create “fulfilling jobs” and commit to “good work”. Plenty of work is not fulfilling but it still needs to be done and there are people out there who are prepared to do it. They just need protecting.”
Read the full article in Accountancy Age and Lawyer Monthly.