On 11 July 2017, The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices (now known as the "good work" report) published its findings and recommendations.

The purpose of the Review was to consider the implications of new models of working on the rights of workers and the obligations of employers, and was intended to inform the Government’s industrial strategy.

The Review focuses on the so called “gig economy”, and in particular workers such as those working for UBER and Deliveroo who provide their services via apps and other digital platforms.

The Review makes a number of recommendations, the most significant of which are:

  • Gig economy workers should be classed as “dependent contractors”, and be entitled to sick pay and holiday pay. To determine whether someone is a dependent contractor, there should be an emphasis on the amount of “control” exercised over them (legislation would be needed to set out what this means in a modern labour market).
  • Gig economy workers should be entitled to a statement of terms and conditions on the first day of employment. This would include a description of their statutory rights. The dependent contractor would have the right to claim compensation if the employer did not provide the written statement.
  • The Low Pay Commission to advise on using a higher minimum wage rate for nonguaranteed hours. Arguably, this is an attempt to discourage employers from using zero hours contracts. People on zero hours contracts should have the right to request a fixed hours contract after 12 months.
  • The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations should be amended so that employers are required to set up information and consultation arrangements if requested by 2% of the workforce (rather than the current 10%). Also, this right should be extended to include workers / dependant contractors (rather than simply employees).
  • Enforcement should be strengthened. HMRC, which currently enforces the National Minimum Wage, should also be responsible for enforcing rights in relation to sick pay and holiday pay.
  • Workers who want to challenge their employment status in the Employment Tribunal should not have to pay a fee. In these cases, the onus would be on the employer to prove their case.

Many critics have argued the proposals do not go far enough to protect the rights of vulnerable individuals. Others state that introducing the definition of “dependent contractor” achieves nothing other than creating a headache for those who have to amend legislation.

At the moment, these are simply recommendations and proposals for the Government to consider. When asked whether the Government would be able to implement some or all of these, the Prime Minister said that she hoped the other parties would work with the Government to achieve it. It remains to be seen whether this is the case.

If you would like to discuss any issues raised in this article, we have specific employment law expertise in advising in this area. For further advice, please contact Andrew Gilchrist or a member of the Employment Team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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