News Worms
News Worms

Gig economy review 'will not shift balance of power' for workers

Gig economy review 'will not shift balance of power' for workers

"The main reason why people say they sign up to drive with Uber is so they can be their own boss", he told Business Insider.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether employment tribunal fees should be abolished, Mr Taylor replied: "What we're suggesting is that there will be a new free process of employment tribunal where anyone can find out what their status is".

The gig economy refers to workers for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo who are treated as self-employed and can therefore earn less than the minimum wage.

The review recommends that workers be renamed as "dependant contractors" but otherwise that the existing three categories broadly remain in place.

A long-awaited review of workers' rights in the so-called gig economy is facing a union backlash.

"This isn't a quirk of the system, this is the system - and without regulation this system will inevitably continue".

"However, it is also likely to substantially push up the cost of engagements for businesses who engage workers through "off payroll" structures and have built their business models on that assumption - so any change can expect to be met with stiff resistance from certain sectors". If Taylor's recommendations are followed, the legal action won't end, noted Kemp Little employment partner Kathryn Docks.

"We already know from union wins in the courts that Deliveroo and Uber should be paying their workforce the minimum wage now, and guaranteeing them basic rights like paid holiday and breaks". "They will be complicated to administer and are bound to lead to even more tribunal litigation".

The Taylor Review, a 115 page report into working practices in the modern United Kingdom economy, covers a range of employment issues now affecting small businesses - with special emphasis placed on the ever increasing "gig economy" and the future of cash-based transactions.

A spokesman for the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain said: "Gig economy workers already have a right to the minimum wage and these proposals seem to want to erode those rights, particularly by preventing workers from pursuing employers that pay below the minimum wage".

Speaking at the launch of a new report on workers' rights by former Blair aide Matthew Taylor, she said such a move could end up hurting workers.

One of the review's more controversial recommendation is for firms to pay workers less than the minimum wage during periods of slow business as long as they can prove that they are getting 1.2 times the minimum wage overall. This subtle time-line change is not surprising given the government's recent U-turn on increasing NICs for the self-employed.

The review acknowledges that, while platform-based working (typically based on technology platforms where consumers hire people's services, such as Uber) can be a way to work flexibly for many people, dependent contractors can fall victim to "one-sided flexibility", hence the need for additional protection.

Uber drivers and Deliveroo cyclists can expect a new feature on their app which, rather like a fitness tracker, will mark how near they are to earning minimum wage and when they should be logging in to work to make sure they do.

Matthew Taylor, who was commissioned past year by the Prime Minister to carry out this review, is also expected to urge the government to take a fresh look at employment laws to make it easier for workers to understand and access their rights.

He said: 'We now need to stamp out abuse of zero hours contracts by giving people the right to request fixed hours, a proposal the Conservatives opposed during the coalition'.

A cyclist rides a bicycle as he delivers food for Deliveroo, an example of the emergence of what is known as the "gig economy". "Experience shows that this will not happen".

Mr Taylor says ministers had created an "employment wedge" between traditional firms and those whose workers were self-employed.


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