Matthew Taylor, former aide to Tony Blair, in a recent government review of employment practices has suggested all work in the UK’s economy should be “fair and decent”.
The report pays particular attention to the gig economy recommending the creation of a new category of worker, known as a ‘dependent contractor’, to provide additional rights and benefits for those who are currently classes as self-employed, but who work for businesses which have a ‘controlling and supervisory’ relationship with their workers.
The additional benefits would include sick pay, holiday entitlement and the minimum wage, and the new employment status would also oblige these businesses to pay national insurance contribution for those workers.
Taylor also recommended to the government;
• Strategies must be put in place to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage
• The review suggests a national strategy to provide good work for all “for which government needs to be held accountable”
• The government should avoid further increasing the the non-wage costs of employing a person, such as the apprenticeship levy
Mr Taylor said there was a perception that the gig economy put too much power into the hand of employers: “Of all the issues that were raised with us as we went around the country, the one that came through most strongly was what the report calls one-sided flexibility
“One-sided flexibility is where employers seek to transfer all risk onto the shoulder of workers in ways that make people more insecure and makes their lives harder to manage. It’s the people told to be ready for work or traveling to work, only to be told none is available.”
The Prime Minister said the government would take the report’s recommendations seriously.
Business groups have given mixed reactions to the report’s findings, with many welcoming the focus on labour market flexibility, but also warning that some areas, including the plans to rewrite employment status tests, are a cause for concern.