Posted on July 11, 2017 by staff

Government review demands rights for ‘gig economy’ workers


A government review has called for ‘gig economy’ workers to be given extra protections while stating that a move towards a cashless society could help prevent tax avoidance.

Matthew Taylor’s report into employment practices recommends that firms which control and supervise their workers should pay benefits including National Insurance.

The report said that cash jobs such as window cleaning and decorating were worth up to £6bn a year and many were untaxed.

It also said all people, particularly those on lower incomes, should have routes to progress in work, in the interests of “fairness”.

He told the BBC: “In my view, there is too much work – particularly at the bottom end of the labour market – that is not of a high enough quality.

“There are too many people not having their rights fully respected. There are too many people at work who are treated like cogs in a machine rather than being human beings, and there are too many people who don’t see a route from their current job to progress and earn more and do better.”

The report calls for a new category of worker, a ‘dependent contractor’, as typified by the riders working for Deliveroo or Uber drivers. It said these workers should be given extra protections by the firms who employ them.

He continued in the BBC interview: “If people want to clock on and earn a few extra quid we don’t want to stop that.

“We don’t want to ban zero hours [contracts] – many people who work zero hours want to do so.

“In a few years’ time, as we move to a more cashless economy, self-employed people would be paid cashlessly – like your window cleaner. At the same time they can pay taxes and save for their pension.

“Most people who do pay for self-employed labour would like to know that that person is paying their taxes.”

Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the review did not go far enough for the country’s 4.5 million “flexible” workers.

“If it looks like a job or it smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed, and I think in those situations where a worker is carrying out work on behalf of an employer… they should not be exploited as a flexible workers,” she told the BBC.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.”