‘Dependent contractor’ to be added to UK employment law?

According to the BBC, the UK government is planning to create a new category of worker as part of its review of employment practices. The new category is to be called ‘dependent contractor’ to reflect the nature of what is commonly called the ‘gig economy’.

Under current employment law, many couriers working in the on-demand delivery sector are officially classed as ‘self-employed contractors’. This clashes with tax and employment law that states that they much be behaving in a different way to their current conditions of contracting. Unions have been arguing successfully in court that these people should be seen as ‘workers’ and therefore entitled to benefits such as sick pay and holiday leave, as well as receiving at least the National Minimum Wage.

The government review, chaired by former Tony Blair advisor Matthew Taylor, is due to be published tomorrow (Tuesday 11/7/17).

The BBC News website claims that the report will recommend that ‘dependent contractors’ should receive sick pay, holiday leave and be “covered by some of the minimum wage requirements”.

In addition the BBC article also claims that the report will “outline a structure obliging firms to show that a person working for them can earn at least 1.2 times the present national living wage of £7.50 an hour for over-25s”.

Given the influence of big business on government, which has itself raised concerns about the flexibility of the workforce, it is of somewhat little surprise that a new category of worker (the dependent contractor) is mooted instead of cracking down on businesses for breaking existing law.
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