Taylor review into the gig economy dismissed as 'feeble'

Gig economy firms being 'let off the hook', unions claim ahead of new report

Review to recommend minimum wage for 'gig economy' workers

Uber and Deliveroo workers should receive minimum wage and sick pay in an overhaul of employment law created to protect those working in the gig economy, a government report will say.

"If they are representative of the full report, it will fall woefully short of being a serious attempt to improve workers' rights and will offer nothing to the growing army of people exploited on zero-hours contracts and in insecure work, and nothing to the millions living in poverty because of low wages".

The Resolution Foundation think tank for low-paid workers said the report's most significant recommendation is a new minimum overtime wage, which could boost workers in retail and social care.

Matthew Taylor, a former political strategist and adviser to then Prime Minister Tony Blair, performed an independent review of the "modern working practices" in the United Kingdom for the government.

Government officials should look at reducing the cost of employment tribunal fees, according to Matthew Taylor, who today publishes a long-awaited review into employment rights of workers in the gig economy.

The review considers that a key focus should be on the level of "control" exerted over individuals (in perhaps a nod to the rationale underpinning the recent decisions of the Employment Tribunals and Court of Appeal that Uber drivers, CitySprint couriers and Pimlico Plumbers are "workers"). With our app drivers are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours.

Taylor also says employers such as Uber and Deliveroo should set out "piece" pay rates for dependent contractors equating to at least 20 per cent more than the minimum wage.

But the report, which took nine months to produce, has been attacked as "feeble" by unions and employment lawyers, with critics saying it does not go far enough to protect workers from "insecurity and exploitation".

In response, Uber's United Kingdom head of public policy, Andrew Byrne, said the company is "already investing in discounted illness and injury cover, and will be introducing further improvements soon".

Deliveroo said the review was a chance to make the law "fit for the 21st century" but warned that "any moves to restrict flexibility could undermine the very thing that attracts people to work in this sector".

"This is a missed opportunity to tackle the big picture and radically overhaul the world of work - when at the moment, even the most basic laws are not being enforced". They would also, if Mr Taylor's recommendations were implemented fully, be treated as employees for tax purposes.

Mr Taylor called for a change in the law to create a new status of "dependant contractors" working flexibly for new firms.

Worker (or "dependent contractor" as the review suggests renaming it) status should be maintained but we should be clearer about how to distinguish workers from those who are legitimately self-employed.

Separately, it is proposed that HM Revenue & Customs should add holiday pay (for the lowest paid workers only) to its existing duty to enforce the national minimum wage and statutory sick pay. This is likely to cover workers for firms like Deliveroo and Uber.

"Taylor's proposals on hours of pay, the minimum wage and statutory sick pay risk undermining the rights of employees and workers in the wider workforce in unforeseen ways", she said.

The review of the new world of work - set up by Theresa May before the last election - has also looked positively at models where gig workers can log on at any time and see "real time" earnings potential. This would codify recent court decisions (like one past year which found Uber drivers had too little control to be classed as truly independent) and could well eventually result in many "gig" workers being classed as "dependent contractors" in the UK.

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