UK: Independent review examines implications of gig economy & sets out recommendations for workers' rights & employers' responsibilities

(photo credit: Reuters)

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8 November 2018

UK: Gig economy workers' rights to be given boost in overhaul of employment laws

Author: Pippa Crerar, The Guardian

Theresa May is pressing ahead with plans to boost the rights of workers in the gig economy on areas including flexibility and pay as part of a package of measures to overhaul employment laws...

Business secretary Greg Clark has told cabinet colleagues that he hopes to implement several key recommendations from a review by Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the RSA and a former senior policy advisor to Tony Blair, that was commissioned by the government last year...

They want to launch a pilot scheme to investigate the level of labour exploitation at hand car washes, which are regularly linked by the police with illegal labour and modern day slavery...

Business groups such as the CBI broadly welcomed the review, though there was a more mixed response from the unions. Unite said it had “spectacularly failed to deliver” on tackling insecure work while the GMB described it as a “disappointing missed opportunity”...

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2 October 2018

UK: Govt. failed to take action to better protect gig economy workers' rights in year following review of modern employment practices, unions say

Author: TUC

"Two million self-employed adults earn less than the minimum wage", 28 Sep 2018

New analysis published by the TUC today (Friday) shows that half (49%) of self-employed adults aged 25 and over are earning less than minimum wage...

Self-employment has accounted for a growing share of the workforce in recent years... 

The TUC is concerned that the growth in self-employment is driven in part by sham forms of self-employment, which are used by some employers to reduce tax liability, duck the minimum wage and deny workers their rights.

Sham self-employment includes some gig economy workers, and people who are contracted to a single employer through a personal service company, rather than being contracted as an employee...

The Taylor Review into modern working practices was published a year ago, but the government has so far failed to take action to tackle insecure employment...

The TUC wants the government to follow up the Taylor Review with:

  • A crackdown on bogus self-employment and steps to ensure workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees...
  • A ban on zero-hours contracts to ensure workers get guaranteed hours...
  • Allowing trade unions to access workplaces, to support workers most in need of representation.

[refers to Uber, Hermes]

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24 July 2017

Gig economy: Australia & UK regulations compared

Author: anine Young & Anthony Forsyth, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, in Mondaq (Aus)

The recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) Full Bench decision to insert casual conversion clauses in modern awards, and the Report of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in the UK, are responses to the same world-wide phenomena... businesses are wanting to engage workers flexibly: over the last 20 years, this has led to the growth of casual, part-time and fixed-term employment – and independent contractor arrangements – in Australia. The most recent manifestation of this flexibility has been the rapid rise across the globe of the 'gig economy': technology-based platforms which match consumers to workers who provide services...the Theresa May Government-initiated Taylor Review has... concerns that some employers use flexibility to transfer risk to – and exert control over – workers: what the Report describes as 'one-sided flexibility'. We examine the parallels between the Australian and UK debates over workplace flexibility – and the most recent regulatory responses to the issue.

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11 July 2017

Good work: The Taylor review of modern working practices

Author: Matthew Taylor, Greg Marsh, Diane Nicol & Paul Broadbent, UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

This independent review considers the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations.

In terms of our recommendations we have focussed broadly on three challenges:
• Tackling exploitation and the potential for exploitation at work;
• Increasing clarity in the law and helping people know and exercise their rights; and
• Over the longer term, aligning the incentives driving the nature of our labour market with our modern industrial strategy and broader national objectives.

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11 July 2017

Taylor Review: All work in UK economy should be fair

Author: BBC

...The report by former aide to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor, pays particular attention to the gig economy...recommends that workers for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo should be classified as dependent contractors, with extra benefits. The Prime Minister said the government would take the report's recommendations seriously. Mr Taylor said there was a perception that the gig economy put too much power into the hand of employers...[and made four] recommendations for the government: [1] People who work for platform-based companies, such as Deliveroo and Uber, be classed as dependent contractors; [2] Strategies must be put in place to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage; [3] The review suggests a national strategy to provide good work for all "for which government needs to be held accountable"; [4] The government should avoid further increasing the non-wage costs of employing a person, such as the apprenticeship levy... [a] spokesperson for the meal delivery service Deliveroo, said: "We would welcome the opportunity to work with the government so we can end this trade off between flexibility and security."... [Before the publication of his findings, Taylor had told the BBC that] working platform providers such as Uber had to demonstrate that workers signing on for hours of work would "easily clear" the minimum wage. Andrew Byrne, head of policy at Uber, said that the average driver took well over the National Living 'All work in UK economy should be fair'... Uber "would welcome greater clarity in the law over different types of employment status"...

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11 July 2017

Taylor review: Unions criticise gig economy report for failure to deliver on promises, mixed responses from business groups & lawyers

Author: Ben Chapman, Independent (UK)

"Taylor review: Unions slam gig economy report for 'spectacular failure' to deliver on promises while business groups and lawyers have given a mixed response"

Trade unions have slammed a review into the gig economy and changing working practices across the UK. Unite, the country's largest union said Tuesday's report "spectacularly failed to deliver" on its promise to tackle the problem of insecure work, while the GMB described it as a "disappointing missed opportunity"...[with it showing] "show some laudable aims on the surface"...Business groups delivered a mixed reaction to the long-awaited Taylor review, with the Institute of Directors saying it "strikes the right balance". Others warned that the recommendations, which included a reducing employment tribunal fees cracking down on "exploitative" conditions, would be difficult, time-consuming and costly to implement...[The British Chambers of Commerce said they were] "pleased that [the review] has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change." [refers to Deliveroo]

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11 July 2017

UK: Gig economy review delivers benefits but brings no job security

Author: Robert Booth, Guardian

After nine months of study and a road trip around British towns and cities being transformed for better and worse by rapid changes in the way we work, the government’s employment reviewer, Matthew Taylor, has grasped one nettle, if not the whole bunch. The Trades Unions Congress is disappointed there is little in the former Blair adviser’s recommendations to act against job insecurity which affects millions of workers who are in self-employment or on zero-hours contracts. A right for agency workers to request fixed hours when they have been engaged with the same hirer for 12 months is something. But millions will still fear the loss of their work at a moment’s notice, even as they may enjoy the flexibility of being able to work when they want. [In addition,] he has not blown away the uncertainties of a working life spent in the gig economy whose workers now number about 1.1 million. He has disappointed trade unions by not demanding full employment rights for people who work for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. Instead, he has argued for the innovation and flexibility that both zero-hours and gig economy work, at their best, can enable...On the plus side, [Taylor] has made a strong case for Theresa May’s government to finally redress a widely felt imbalance between poor workers and rich investors in some of the most highly valued and profitable companies in the world. [also refers to Deliveroo, DPD, Hermes, Uber & UK Mail]

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11 July 2017

UK: Gig economy workers on their jobs - 'They do exercise control over us'

Author: Sarah Butler, Guardian

Three workers share their experiences of working for courier and care companies with insecure hours, no sick pay and no holiday pay. Mohaan Biswas...[who] has worked for Deliveroo since February last year...was [initially] paid £7 an hour plus £1 per delivery, as well as petrol and about £15 in tips a week. Now he gets £3.75 per delivery...A former van driver for UK Express, a delivery company which works for Parcelforce...[notes that his] weekly earnings varied widely – from a loss of £200 to a profit of £1,200 in his best ever week. His average take-home pay, after paying van hire fees, insurance and petrol, was about £250 a week...As an independent contractor, he did not get sick pay or holiday pay and had to continue to pay van hire fees and insurance even when not working. After months on the job, he recently quit after the company said it wanted drivers to take out their own insurance on top of van hire fees...A care worker, based near employed by a private care company helping mainly elderly clients with their medication and care, including food preparation, bathing and dressing, household chores and moving about, such as helping people out of wheelchairs and into bed. She earns £7.80 an hour but this is only for the hours she works dealing with clients. She does not get paid for travel time between jobs and no travel time is included in her rota...If a client needs more time than necessary, care workers don’t get paid extra...Her pay and weekly rota can be very changeable. [Working under a] zero-hours contract [she] is not guaranteed any working hours a week...She’s now looking for a different job as she’d like to progress in her career, earn more, get a pension and guaranteed hours but continue to work in caring for people.

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