Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Medical | By Rita Mcdonald

Taylor review into the gig economy dismissed as 'feeble'

Taylor review into the gig economy dismissed as 'feeble'

Thompsons Solicitors" chief executive Stephen Cavalier said that the report's recommendations were "feeble and add another layer of unnecessary complexity", adding: "The creation of a new "dependent contractor' status for gig economy workers would further complicate existing categories of how workers are defined in law".

"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". In a 116-page document, Taylor and his team recommend that the government should implement protections for such workers. A self-employed person doing the same work as an employed person can pay a different amount of tax or National Insurance despite receiving similar contributory benefit entitlements in return, ' the report added. "They won't decide to do so just because they're asked nicely".

"Indeed nearly all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed", said Andrew Byrne, head of policy for Uber in the UK.

"A government review, published on Tuesday, calls for a new category of worker called a "dependent contractor" meaning that those Britons working for companies such as taxi app Uber and Deliveroo would receive more benefits".

So-called "gig-economy" workers are set to be given a number of new protections, under a Downing Street review into modern working practices released by Theresa May today.

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"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". However, companies would need to show that it was indeed possible to easily earn a living wage via their platforms.

"The review does include some positive ideas including penalties for serial offender employers who continue to deny workers their rights where colleagues have succeeded in a similar claim", said Mr Mackay.

He said: 'Let's face it, the Government has run out of steam and at a pivotal moment in our country and the world, amid uncertainty over Brexit, conflict in the Gulf states, nuclear sabre-rattling over North Korea, refugees continuing to flee war and destruction, ongoing pandemics, cross-border terrorism, poverty and inequality, and the impact of climate change are the core global challenges of our time'.

"The employment statuses should ... be distinct and not open to as much interpretation as now, nor be so ambiguous that only a court can fully understand the basic principles", the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices report (116-page / 3.94MB PDF) said. The status will be primarily used for people operating in the "gig economy", where employers treat workers as self-employed to avoid liability for holiday and sickness pay.

However, the review notes that if "dependent contractors" knowingly work in quiet times then they should take responsibility for that decision.

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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'.

Despite numerous calls to ban controversial zero hour contracts - which do not guarantee workers any hours - the Taylor review has not done so.

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His view was echoed by unions.

The Taylor review set out this new definition, which would replace the current worker status and is created to preserve the flexibility of the gig economy while guaranteeing greater protection for those working for these firms.

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"We'd welcome any nuggets of good news, but it doesn't look like the report will shift the balance of power in the modern workplace". "We would welcome the opportunity to work with the government so we can end this trade off between flexibility and security".

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