Report into United Kingdom gig economy slammed as 'wasted opportunity'

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

The report found the way the law is publicised and enforced should "help firms make the right choices and individuals to know and exercise their rights".

The Taylor Review doesn't call for a ban on zero-hours contracts - a key Labour policy - with Taylor saying "many people who work zero hours want to do so".

Taylor, who is head of the Royal Society of Arts and a former adviser to Tony Blair, says the reforms would set "principles for fair and decent work" and could help to improve United Kingdom productivity. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK's flexible employment market is a great source of strength. "According to a survey in 2014/15 by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), 4.3% of temporary assignments were of length greater than 12 months".

Theresa May commissioned the report into how employment practices should change in order to keep up with modern business models in October past year. It also recommends shutting a loophole in United Kingdom labor law known as the "Swedish derogation", which allows companies to pay temporary staff less than full-time employees doing the same job. "In addition, the Government should consider extending the remit of the EAS Inspectorate to include compliance with the AWR". The first step states that the "national strategy should be explicitly directed toward the goal of good work for all".

My prediction is sick pay might become a part of the mix, as a very long shot, but holiday pay will be kicked in to the long grass.

"What is needed is one category which affords all workers all employment rights from day one of their contracts starting". The report says, "Platform based working offers welcome opportunities for genuine two way flexibility and can provide opportunities for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways".

May said she believed most businesses treated their workers not just fairly but well, adding the aim was "not overburdening with regulation while making sure people have the rights and protections they need".

This will help clear up the present grey area between a fully employed and a self-employed person - presently called a "worker" in employment law. He suggests that introducing more red tape will encourage bosses to take the route pioneered by firms such as Uber. Surely their experiences are more important if the question is truly about improving people's working lives?

To stand a good chance of getting picked up you need a rating of around 4.3 and above
Uber drivers will now have access to sick and accident pay

A government review into the rapidly changing world of work is to demand a radical overhaul of employment law and new guarantees on the minimum wage.

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The Taylor Report cited HM Revenue and Customs figures suggesting that cash-in-hand payments to casual workers like gardeners, window cleaners or child-minders contribute to a hidden economy accounting for around 18% of the gap between amounts of tax due and the total paid.

Responding to the Taylor Review, British Retail Consortium (BRC) business regulation director Tom Ironside said it "rightly identified the need to address the quality of employment alongside quantity" and welcomed the "thrust" of many of its recommendations.

"Unscrupulous employers are ignoring the rights which workers already have and are not paying their fair share of taxes".

He says they should be entitled to a higher minimum wage than regular employees.

The GMB backed a group of drivers who won a landmark case against Uber over employment rights.

The independent review, some details of which were leaked widely over the weekend, urges employers to stop creating "bad work" opportunities that are "insecure, exploitative and controlling".

But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady, said the review would prompt a "sigh of relief" from gig economy employers.

The report, presided over by former Blair advisor Matthew Taylor, calls for the creation of a new category of worker - a dependent contractor - alongside employed and self-employed.

  • Jon Douglas