The Gig Economy: What Is It and What's Next?

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Gig Economy

The release of the Taylor Review has had the press abuzz, with yet more column inches being filled about the insecure position some workers have, as well as talk of the ‘gig economy.’

Often, people working within niche sectors or under non-standard contracts aren’t clear about their employment status and how it affects them. This is important, as the classification given to your situation determines the level of rights that you are entitled to. Broadly speaking, there are two main categories:-

Employees enjoy the full complement of employment rights; they are protected against unfair dismissal (as long as they have gained at least 2 years’ employment), redundancy and discrimination. They can also receive sick pay and paid annual leave;

Workers are often employed on a casual basis. They do not qualify for protection against unfair dismissal, redundancy pay or minimum notice periods. They are protected against discrimination and unlawful deductions from wages.

Workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ don’t get a set salary on a regular basis but are paid for the ‘gigs’ that they do. This is similar to those working on a zero hours contract, though a zero hours contract offers a set rate of pay for all work carried out rather than a set rate for each piece.

Somewhat surprisingly, new research quoted by the Full Fact website has stated that 28% of ‘gig’ workers are employed in a professional sector such as law or accountancy, whilst just 9% are engaged in a delivery or courier- based industry.

The Taylor Review has suggested the creation of a new category- that of a ‘dependent contractor.’ This would ensure that ‘gig’ workers would receive both sick pay and holiday pay. The Government has yet to announce plans for formal legislation that will give Taylor’s recommendations teeth and provide certainty for those in this sector, but this could shortly follow.

If you need advice as to employment status or any of the points raised within this article, contact Yunus Lunat on 0113 284 5023 or via yunus.lunat@isonharrison.co.uk.

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