Employment Review recommends ‘Good Work for All’
The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was set up by the Government in 2016 to look at modern working practices and those described as ‘gig economy’ workers. The long awaited reported was published 11 July 2017.
Some of those on zero-hour contracts or working in the ‘gig economy’ such as drivers for Uber or Deliveroo are hoping for a change in the definition of their employment status. There are several different definitions in UK law on workers and employees. An employee, for example, has full protection including unfair dismissal and redundancy, and a worker has some protection, including holiday pay, a maximum of 48 hours work a week, rest breaks and an entitlement to receive minimum wage, whilst a ‘gig’ economy worker, might be opted out of all of those.
The review suggests steps to ‘fair and decent work with realistic scope for development and fulfilment’:
1. The national strategy for work should be directed toward the goal of ‘good work for all’,
a. There should be a fair balance of rights and responsibilities, everyone should have a baseline of protection and there should be routes to enable progression at work.
b. The taxation of labour needs to be more consistent, while improving the rights and entitlements of self-employed people.
c. Technological change will impact work and types of employment will need to be able to adapt, but offer new opportunities for smarter regulation, more flexible entitlements and new ways for people to organise.
2. Digital platform based working or ‘gig economy’ working offers opportunities for two way flexibility and can provide opportunities for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways. These should be protected while ensuring fairness for those who work through these digital platforms and those who compete with them. Worker (or ‘Dependent Contractor’ as the review suggests) status should be maintained but should be clearer about how to distinguish workers from those who are legitimately self-employed.
3. The law and the way it is publicised and enforced should help firms make the right choices and individuals to know and exercise their rights.
4. The best way to achieve better work is responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within the organisation.
5. It is vital to individuals and the health of our economy that everyone feels they have realistically attainable ways to strengthen their future work prospects and that they can, from the beginning to the end of their working life, record and enhance the capabilities developed in formal and informal learning and in on the job and off the job activities.
6. The shape and content of work and individual health and well-being are strongly related. For the benefit for firms, workers and the public interest we need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health.
7. The National Living Wage is a powerful tool to raise the financial base line of low paid workers. It needs to be accompanied by strategies engaging employers and employees to ensure that people are not stuck at the living wage minimum or facing insecurity but can progress in their current and future work.
The reviews recommendations to the government are:
• Request the Low Pay Commission (‘LPC’) examine how a higher National Minimum Wage rate might apply to non-guaranteed hours.
• Develop legislation to make it easier for all working people to receive basic details about their employment relationship.
• Make it easier for workers in flexible arrangements to receive holiday entitlement.
• Develop legislation that allows agency workers and those on zero hours contracts the ability to request a more formal working relationship.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the government would be looking at the report’s recommendations seriously. We can only wait and see if any of these recommendations will be implemented.