It’s been over a week now since the Taylor Report was published; a government commissioned review and insight of modern employment in the UK, in particular looking at the role the gig economy is playing whilst casting a spotlight on its workers and their working rights which have come into question these past few months.
Large companies who benefit from the flexibility that the gig economy offers, such as Uber and Deliveroo, have faced pressure on defining the rights and employment status of their workers. As self-employed workers, this of course affords them no basic worker rights such as sick pay and national insurance. However there has been growing discussion that the type of flexible work that is carried out by these workers has the potential for exploitation on behalf of the employer. Zero-hour contracts have gained controversy in employment law in particular. Though they offer flexibility, they offer no real protection for employees and has given employers too much influence in the gig economy.
From this review, we’ve seen the the status of these workers recognised now as ‘dependant contractors’. The report has caused some confusion with there questions asked of who actually falls into this category and could contractors in other fields find themselves dragged into this worker status.
However, the report is seen at this current time as a way of introducing protective measures to stop employee exploitation and bring in legislation that is more concrete in determining what are the rights of these type of workers. There is room to argue the differentiation between working self-employed for a company such as Uber or Deliveroo, to working self-employed in a contractor role in the IT or Finance industry.
There is also a discussion to be made over the awareness and recognition of what being a self-employed worker truly entails. Perhaps some of these gig economy workers prefer the flexibility of these roles over the general worker rights they do not entitle themselves to choosing this type of employment status.
There has been some negative feeling held towards contractor communities within Westminster because of their unique tax status. With this report’s recognition of basic worker rights for self-employed workers and recognising them in the same vein as employees, there is fear this could cast further doubt on the already debated categorisation of self-employed workers and this could spill into the world of professional contracting.
With a detailed response from the Government set to happen after summer, the worker status of the self-employed continues to be an ongoing discussion.