A call for rights for casual workers

A PARLIAMENTARY report has recommended that "worker status" be the default for "companies with substantial dependent workforces currently labelled as self-employed".

The joint report by the Select Committees for Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, A Framework for Modern Employment, responded to the Taylor Review of the gig economy - see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1708tayl.html

It notes recent court cases that "have exposed a pattern of companies using bogus self-employed status as a route to cheap labour". The "onus would be on the firm to prove self-employed status." But any such measures "must not place unnecessary burdens on genuine self-employment, which is a positive choice for many individuals". The report also calls for a lower minimum wage for zero-hour contracts (which would not affect freelances). It makes this plea: "As it seeks to negotiate the best possible Brexit deal, the Government must not allow addressing urgent issues in Britain's labour market to fall by the wayside."

On 7 February, Prime Minister Theresa May responded with proposals on sick pay and holiday pay rights for all workers, plus a right for workers to receive a contract on "day one". The higher minimum wage for zero-hour work is being "considered." Four "consultations" have been launched to provide more detail, but no legislation has been promised yet. TUC General Secretary Francis O'Grady described the announcement as "a baby step."

We report an example of gig economy companies "gaming the system" here.