Matthew Taylor’s review puts a spotlight on modern working practices and outlines new approaches towards worker’s rights to ensure “good quality work for all”.
The independent review commissioned by the Government 9 months ago proposed that firms which have a "controlling and supervisory" relationship with workers should pay a range of benefits, including sick pay and holiday pay. He adds that employers should offer additional protections for workers, who he proposes should instead be labelled ‘dependent contractors’ and that there should be stronger incentives for companies to treat them fairly.
Taylor acknowledges that while platform-based working offers flexibility for many people, dependant contractors may fall victim to one-sided flexibility, as decided in the recent case of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and Mullins v Smith. As part of this, he also stressed that workers signing on for hours of work should “easily clear the minimum wage”.
The review also encourages organisations to make clearer the difference between workers and those who are actually self-employed.
The review comes after a number of cases regarding the employment status of people in the ‘gig economy’, which encompasses businesses characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs such as Deliveroo, which has become embroiled in an increasing amount of employment disputes in recent years.
Taylor summarised his review in 7 key principles, as outlined below:
*”National strategy for work” is the goal of good work for all, with responsibility in the hands of not only the government but also businesses.
*’Workers’ should be renamed ‘dependent contractor’ and should be easier to distinguish from properly self-employed individuals.
*Employment law and its enforcement should encourage companies to act correctly and empower individuals to know and exercise their rights.
*Good corporate governance and strong employer relations, rather than employment law, are the key to better work.
*All dependant contractors should have “realistically attainable ways to strengthen their future work prospects”.
*Organisations should place a stronger and more positive emphasis on workplace health.
*Employers in different sectors should form sectoral strategies to ensure an income beyond the national living wage level as well as career progress.
More controversially, Mr Taylor called for an end to “cash-in-hand” economies, but hoped that over time the increasing popularity of transaction platforms such as PayPal would naturally see this shift occur.
The review was not without criticism; Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the review did not go far enough for the 4.5 million people in insecure work., whom she argued should be considered employed if in a working capacity. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady similarly said “this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.".
In my opinion, the review, in spite of concerns, correctly identifies potential problems with contemporary working practices such as platform-based working and ‘gig-economies’, and offers positive and constructive proposals to these problems, but could do more in the way of detail on the practical achievement of the 7 key principles; particularly with regards to ensuring companies strengthen employees future work prospects and how to practically promote good corporate governance and strong employer relations.
If you have any business related queries or want advice about employers and employee rights, Hedges would be happy to help.
**This article has been written by one of our essay writing competition winners, Jamie Crosbie Chen**