UK government promises legislation to protect “gig economy” workers

People working in the so-called “gig economy” will be able to claim holiday and sick pay, as well as having stronger contracts that will provide more financial security, under proposed new legislation. The gig economy describes the trend for companies to hire freelancers instead of full-time employees with people being paid for each “gig” they do.

The new policies were set out in the government’s response to a review headed by ex-Tony Blair adviser Matthew Taylor, commissioned to explore Britain’s changing labour market and how workers’ rights could be better protected. The Taylor Review made 53 recommendations in total, with Prime Minister Theresa May confirming that the government will act on all but one, and would go further than the report suggested in others.

Also included in the proposals:

  • Defining “working time” for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online so they know when they should be being paid.
  • Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hour contracts.
  • Quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000.

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