The Gig Economy

What do gig workers do?

Gig Workers are independent workers who accept work from a service or goods provider sometimes via a digital platform such as an app or computer software, companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Yodel use these types of worker.  Gig workers can also find consultancy work in accountancy or legal advisory services, delivery/courier services, cleaning/household services or they could be skilled workers in plumbing, building and other forms of work.  They get paid per job, eg – for a courier it may be paid per parcel delivered or for taxi drivers paid per journey and it must be them doing the work not passing the job on to someone else.

CIPD research conducted in 2017 found that there are approximately 1.3 million people engaged in the ‘gig economy’ and a percentage of these workers did so to boost income rather than because they could not find alternative work.

What new policies have been put in place to ensure workers rights are better protected?

On 20 February, the Supreme Court heard the case of a plumber who was hired on a self-employed basis and subsequently dismissed because he asked to go part time after suffering a heart attack.  This case could affect companies working in the Gig economy and set new presidents in what is considered workers’ rights and is still being considered.

Employment status is currently decided by an employment tribunal or court.  There are few rights an independent worker has however they do have protection for their health and safety on a client’s premises and will be protected against discrimination in some cases.  They do not have a right to holiday pay or any benefits of an employed worker.

What kind of workers do you have?

An Employee has an employment contract, is entitled to company benefits, is paid sickness and holiday pay and is paid through a payroll.

Casual or Zero hours employees also have an employment contract, but they don’t have to accept work offered by the company and the company does not have to offer work.  They are entitled to basic employment benefits and paid through a payroll.

A Contractor/Self Employed worker runs their own business, gets paid by invoice and is responsible for their own tax and NI contributions.

What next?

The government wants to bring in an online tool for British workers, so they can check their employment status.  It has also suggested bringing in a minimum wage for independent workers and toughening up on the existing laws in place for workers.

How does this affect me?

You will need to ensure that your workers are identified as employed (Full time/Part time, casual/zero hours contracts) or self-employed (charges the company for the work done) and that they are treated as such.

If you want to discuss the status of your workers or make sure you are compliant with workers’ rights, please contact us and one of our HR Consultants would be happy to help you.

References:
CIPD Gig economy report:  https://www.cipd.co.uk/about/media/press/170317-gig-economy
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com
ACAS: http://www.acas.org.uk