May in move to protect workers in UK’s gig economy
WHAT IF your gig at a UK start-up means you have flexibility but no paid sick leave, no time off and no pension? That was a focus of discussion at the Google campus in London and part of a review into changing UK working practices that Prime Minister Theresa May asked Matthew Taylor to examine. The 56-year-old job czar was appointed to find ways to clarify and secure rights for the growing ranks of self-employed and casual labour in Britain.
He acknowledged “there is exploitation, there is bad practice, there are nasty people” in the booming gig economy and the British workplace at large. People with the freedom to make up their own work hours then don’t know what, if any, benefits they can have. New businesses are trying to contain costs and cut their tax bills.
But for Taylor, “a lot of what goes on is genuine confusion”. He is already sketching out a recom- mendation that employers should hand workers a “basic statement” of the terms of their employment and entitlements after a week or so of work to end any ambiguity.
He’s also mulling an app to allow both employees and employers to plug in the particulars of their employment to determine whether they’re officially deemed an “employee,” a “worker” or “self-employed”. Each category comes with a different set of entitlements.