Gig Economy: Will Taylor Review Changes be Effective?

Employment, Jobsearch, News / 08 February 2018

The gig economy is still relatively new territory for many employers, not to mention regulatory bodies. Still, it’s estimated that around 2.8 million people are currently, or have been, part of the gig economy in the last 12 months.Companies like Uber and Deliveroo are probably the best known providers of gig economy work, and the sector is increasing. As more and more of us join the gig economy, there’s been an increasing need for ways ensure that workers are not only able to enforce their rights, but that they have access to the same safeguards and protections as fully employed workers.

Gig Economy: Will Taylor Review Changes be Effective?

The Taylor Review, commissioned last year by the government, made a number of observations and recommendations relating to the gig economy in particular as a result, and the government has now agreed to make the recommended changes. Will this ultimately guarantee gig economy workers’ rights? Not entirely, unfortunately.

Gig Economy Overview


The gig economy is composed almost entirely of freelance workers, which gives employers a number of advantages – they aren’t required to offer holiday pay, sick pay, or even set contracts in most cases. Work is picked up by freelancers on an ongoing ad hoc basis as well, which means while there is a great amount of flexibility for workers, long term employment is not necessarily guaranteed in any way.

Currently, things are arguably much more beneficial for employers than they are for workers. As it stands, those employed in the gig economy are generally unable to effectively challenge employers on aspects of rights. Furthermore, annual earnings for gig economy workers are low, estimated at just over £5000 per annum. Even this estimate is generous however, because according to the government’s own report, the figure is skewed by a small percentage of high earners.

Under the recommendations from the Taylor Review, some gig economy workers would be better protected, and have some guarantee of ongoing work.

 

Government Action


The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, said that the Government would be: ‘enforcing the rights that people have and are entitled to’. Almost all of the recommendations from the Taylor Review will be implemented, which should mean that workers both in and out of the gig economy will be able to better pursue their rights.

Some of the changes that will come into play include the right for workers to demand a payslip, more stable contracts for flexible workers, and better enforcement of sick pay and holiday entitlements.

 

Limitations


While this is certainly a step in the right direction for gig economy workers, it will still leave some unprotected – up to 1.8 million in fact, according to Unions. Seeing as the majority of the Taylor Review was almost explicitly focused on enforcing the rights of this group,it could be argued that more radical action is needed.

The main problem stems from the fact that gig economy workers have different employment statuses depending on who they work for. If a worker doesn’t have official employee status, then they won’t benefit from any of the upcoming changes. Those that are working for companies as freelancers therefore, are still unprotected.

The upcoming enforcements are without doubt a step in the right direction, but critics have already pointed out that over half of the 2.8 million gig economy workforce will still remain in the same situation, after all.

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