CASUAL workers are to be given more rights after a major government report, the Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed.
The so-called gig economy has boomed in recent years but there has been little protection for workers.
Firms like Uber, Deliveroo and Sports Direct employ an army of self-employed workers or those on zero hour contracts, with little rights and often low pay.
Five million Brits are now self-employed and close to one million are on zero-hours contracts.
Loopholes in current legislation mean that firms can get away without paying National Insurance or providing holiday and sick pay.
Royal Society of Arts head Matthew Taylor was appointed by Theresa May last October to probe today’s tech-driven economy and last night he slammed exploitative bosses who treat staff like “cogs in a machine”.
No companies are named and shamed in the review but tech-based giants such as Uber as well as retailer Sports Direct and delivery firms such as Hermes are thought to be forefront in its thinking, after bitter clashes with employees in the past.
Last week, Glastonbury music festival also came under heavy criticism for laying off 700 casual workers promised two weeks of litter picking up after just two days.
As part of his review, Mr Taylor put forward more than 50 recommendations, including a raft of changes to major laws.
Today, Theresa May said: “I am clear that this Government will act to ensure that the interests
of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.”
What does this mean for self-employed workers or those on zero-hour contracts?
Today, the Government confirmed that there would be more protection for self-employed workers or those on zero-hour contracts.
But it may be some time before these are put into place as there may be changes in legislation that will have to go through the usual parliamentary structure.
Theresa May said that parliament will look at the proposals in detail and respond later this year.
One of the biggest changes is a recommendation to change the law to redefine what a “worker” means, and change it to “dependant contractor”.
Changes may also come about due to pressure on firms to improve working practices.
Some of the other recommendations in Mr Taylor’s report include:
- Employees should be given the right to request fixed hours or permanent contracts – which bosses can still refuse, but they will have to declare all requests, in a bid to shame them into offering more secure work.
- The Low Pay Commission should look at asking companies to pay workers a higher minimum wage when they refuse to give them guaranteed hours – known as a “zero hours surcharge”.
- Sick pay should be given to casual workers as an accrued right, which will see their allowance rise the longer they work work for the company.
- All casual workers must be given a full list of their rights, written in plain English, on day 1 of their new job to stop bosses pulling the wool over their eyes.
- Companies should disclose how they deal with complaints from workers.