Parliament to limit gig economy?

Two Westminster committees of MPs have put forward plans to close loopholes in employment law that have enabled the so-called ‘gig economy’ to flourish.

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committees have jointly put together a draft bill.

Referring to the gig economy as stands, Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Vusiness, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said, “Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce but currently all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers. This must change.”

“Recent cases demonstrate a need for greater clarity in the law to protect workers. Responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses. We need new laws but also much tougher enforcement, to weed out those businesses seeking to exploit complex labour laws, and workers, for their competitive advantage,” said Reeves.

The two committees have indicated that they would rather implement a ‘worker by default’ model which puts the onus on employer companies to demonstrate the self-employed status of personnel working for them.

Other proposals by the committees to tackle the gig economy include increased enforcement, higher penalties at employment tribunals if an employer has already lost a similar case, and enabling the use of class actions in disputes over wages, status and working time.

“The two Committees are today presenting the Prime Minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft Bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy,” said Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee.

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