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Plans to overhaul the rights of “gig” workers have been backed by Theresa May according to Matthew Taylor, chair of Downing Street’s modern work review.

The Prime Minister appointed Taylor to lead a review into modern working conditions with an emphasis on the growing “gig economy”. The review will be published in June.

Taylor has said that the PM has been “supportive so far”. However, he is aware that all he can do is make recommendations, any policies will be up to the government. “[What] I have to do is produce the best recommendations I can – in the end it’s up to government to decide what they can implement and that puts us back in the domain of politics.”


Determining the status of workers

Many companies are using workers on a self-employed basis but it’s often difficult to determine whether they are employees or self-employed. Those working on a self-employed basis get fewer rights than employees and miss out on things like holiday and sick pay.

There’s concern that some companies are simply trying to get out of paying employee rights and are exploiting workers.

Taylor has said that the distinction between employed and self-employed workers is down to a “question of control” that a company has over workers.

“If you are subject to control – if as an individual in the relationship with the person who’s hiring you, they control your work, they control the basis upon which you work, they control the content of your work – that looks like the kind of relationship where the quid pro quo should be that you respect that person’s employment rights and entitlements,” he said in an interview with ITV.

“If you want to control your workers, you will have to respect their rights and provide entitlements, too, but if you really don’t want to control them, that’s fine, then they’ll be self-employed,” he said. “But there are cases at the moment where firms both want control but not to provide those workers with entitlements and rights.”

There have been a few high profile cases, including Uber who lost an employment tribunal in October. It was decided that because of the conditions of work the workers were not really self-employed and were therefore entitled to employee rights that they had been denied.


IR35 changes

Introduced by the government in 2000, IR35 is a way of determining whether someone is a genuine contractor working through an intermediary or they are essentially an employee but called a contractor in order to avoid tax and employee rights.

It’s currently down to the intermediary to determine the status of a worker. However, this will soon be changing after 6th April. Determining the status will then be down to the end client. It will also be your responsibility to ensure you’re not within IR35 too.

These changes are only planned for the public sector at the moment which could mean a lot more contractors seeking out private sector work instead.


What do you think about the gig economy? What are you expecting from the review? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.



About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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