Modern Working Practices

The Taylor Review

The GIG Economy is headline news again, this time with the Taylor Review which was commissioned by the Prime Minister. The Gig Economy refers to a labour market which is characterised by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

There are an estimated 1.1 million people working in the UK gig economy, and in his employment review, Matthew Taylor sets out a number of principles to improve the UK job and employment market, in order to secure fair and decent work. The main principles are as follows:

  • Retaining the distinction between employees and workers, but renaming workers who are not employees ‘dependent contractors’
  • A platform based on a fair working relationship which offers genuine two-way flexibility between freelancers or short-contract staff and businesses who engage them.
  • The title ‘Worker’ should be renamed ‘Dependent Contractor’. A clearer distinction is also needed between this role and those who are genuinely self-employed.
  • Stronger incentives are needed for firms to treat workers fairly. Workers (or Dependent Contractors) are the most likely group to experience one-sided flexibility.
  • The best way to achieve a fairer working relationship is responsible corporate governance, good management, and strong employment relations within the organisation.
  • Everyone should feel they have the ability to attain ways to strengthen their future work prospects.
  • Need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health. This is essential for individuals and the Business.
  • A number of technical recommendations on the circumstances where National Minimum Wage, sick pay, and holiday pay may become payable to Gig economy workers

These are of course only recommendations, and it remains to be seen whether the government will implement some or all of them.

Clearly there is further discussion required before we see a definitive answer to the issues raised, and Tamar HR will continue to monitor its progress and update you accordingly.

Whilst any clarity in the definitions of employee, worker and dependent contractor would be helpful, there is no detail as yet on what these different definitions actually look like.

Assessing employment status can be a tricky and complex process.  All businesses clearly require flexibility in their workforces so that they can flex to meet peaks in demand.  Equally, all workers deserve the right for fair treatment and for many workers the flexibility of working as part of the Gig economy is helpful.  Tamar HR firmly believes that it is possible to achieve both, through a carefully planned and considered approach to ensure that all companies comply with their employment law responsibilities, without compromising the essential need for flexibility.

Adopting a transparent culture where people are dealt with fairly, and are offered clear development opportunities, ultimately fosters good working partnerships. This has to make sense for any Company that wants to achieve sustainable success. Tamar HR would be pleased to advise and support a review of employment status of those within your business, in readiness for any changes that arise as part of the Taylor review.

Some of the proposals are likely to be implemented quite quickly, and others will clearly require more work to ensure businesses understand the specific requirements.  If you would like to discuss this or any other related employment issues, please contact your HR Advisor.

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