By Patrick Stewart
Somewhat overtaken by other events during the summer, was the publication of the Taylor Report into working practices, with particular reference to the so-called “gig economy”. Whilst the report itself does not have direct legal effect, it was commissioned to make recommendations and the Prime Minister, at the time of publication, promised to consider it carefully. It may therefore inform future developments over the coming years.
A summary of the most pertinent recommendations is as follows:
That the recent tribunal and court decisions in relation to self-employment v. employment – cases involving Pimlico Plumbers, Uber and now Addison Lee – should be given statutory effect. In these cases, courts and tribunals considered whether individuals purportedly engaged on a self-employed basis were in fact workers and concluded that they were workers.
In considering whether an individual is truly selfemployed, the test should centre on the control exercised over the individual by the company and less concerned whether the individual provides services personally. If this is the case, a mechanism commonly used to avoid personal service – inserting a substitution clause in a contract, will no longer be effective.
Personal service will still be necessary for an employment status.
Workers would be entitled to a written statement of terms in the same way that employees currently are. For both employees and workers, this should be provided within one week of commencement of service.
Employees and workers will be entitled to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal to determine employment status.
Continuity of employment will be preserved where there are gaps in work of less than one month. The current limit is one week.
Holiday pay for those workers and employees who receive varying income will be averaged over a one year period as opposed to the current 12 weeks. This should even out seasonal variations in pay.
Employees to be entitled to paid rolled up holiday pay. This is contrary to the judgment of the European Court of Justice. This would be particularly useful to employers of employees working on zero hours contracts.
There should be a right to return to work from long term absence due to sickness similar to the rights to return after maternity leave.
It will be interesting to see the Government’s formal response to the report. Some of the matters can be introduced fairly simply, others will require further consideration and then legislation.
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