Every job in the UK should be ‘fair and decent’, according to the Government’s review into modern employment practices which was published yesterday.
The report, led by Chief Executive of the Royal Society of the Arts Matthew Taylor, was commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May to examine the increasing complexity around how we earn a living – particularly those who work in the so-called ‘gig economy’.
The Taylor Review has made a series of recommendations, most notably that those who work on a ‘per-job’ basis for platform-based companies, like Deliveroo and Uber, should now be classed as ‘dependent contractors’. This would entitle them to extra benefits, such as sick pay and holiday leave.
Estimates suggest as many as 1.1 million British people work in the gig economy.
“All work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment,” the review says in its summary.
There are currently three main categories of working status – employees, who enjoy the highest level of protection but are also controlled most; self-employed people, who enjoy flexibility but have the least legal protection; and workers, who fall somewhere in between.
The status of ‘dependent contractor’, the report says, would sit between employed and self-employed status. A dependent contractor would be someone who “is not an employee, but neither are they genuinely self-employed”. In effect the term “worker” would be relabelled but this won’t just be a cosmetic change. The review recommends that dependent contractor status should not be restricted to those who are required to perform work personally (as is currently the case for workers and which can be defeated by the use of a genuine substitution clause in a contract). Furthermore, there should be greater emphasis on the control a business has over an individual. The theory is that this would lead to more people being protected by employment law so has significant ramifications for many businesses.
Elsewhere within the 116-page document, Taylor recommends:
- more transferable skills should be taught to workers;
- the Low Pay Commission should introduce a new minimum wage for people on zero-hours contracts;
- and people should have the right to request a fixed number of working hours from their employers. However, it rules out a total ban on zero-hours contracts.
While the Prime Minister has said she will take the report’s recommendations seriously, they would need to be approved by Government and written into law before they become binding.
How can Gotelee help?
With the rapid emergence of innovative, technology-driven business models, the last decade has seen huge changes in the way people work and the relationship they have with their employers. This makes employment law a particular challenge for businesses.
Employers, more than ever before, need sound and clear legal advice to help them to protect their employees when things are going well and to protect themselves when relations break down.
We can advise you on your obligations and responsibilities, and help you get a better understanding of the potential implications of the Taylor Review on your organisation.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact us on 01473 298126 or email [email protected]