May in move to pro­tect work­ers in UK’s gig econ­omy

The Star Late Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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.

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