Good Work plan pledges to leave self-employed NICs unchanged

8th February 2018

The UK Government has published its response to the recommendations made in last year’s independent Taylor Review, which investigated the impact of modern working practices on businesses and employees.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced the publication of the new ‘Good Work’ plan and acknowledged that the “world of work is changing”.

“We have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes, enhancing the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to do business,” said May. "Our response to this report will mean tangible progress towards that goal as we build an economy that works for everyone.

Within the plan is a commitment from the Government to permanently shelve plans to increase National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the self-employed.

The document also indicates a desire to “improve pension provision among the self-employed” which has been a growing concern and will enable self-employed professionals to better plan for the future.

Chris Bryce, CEO, Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), said: “The self-employed currently pay a lower level of NICs because, by providing flexible expertise for businesses across the UK, they take on much higher levels of business risk than their employed counterparts.”

The Good Work plan bids to overhaul employment rights in the UK, improving the working conditions for millions of workers, including those in the so-called gig economy.

Individuals within the gig economy classed as ‘workers’ will be entitled to a comprehensive list of day-one rights including holiday and sick pay. They will also be given the right to demand a regular payslip and more stable working contracts. The Government is also asking the Low Pay Commission to consider implementing a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts.

The Good Work plan also sets out a new framework of enforcing these new working rights, including:

  • Ensuring all 1.2 million agency workers are aware of who pays them and the costs or charges deducted from their wages
  • The implementation of a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards
  • Clearly communicating workplace rights for new and expectant mothers and making employers aware of their obligations
  • Launching a task force with business to promote take-up of the right to request flexible working, introduced in 2014
  • Going further to ensure unpaid interns are not being asked to do the job of a worker

The Government is yet to settle on a definition of self-employment in the 21st century. It is launching a consultation later this year to discuss ways of making it easier for workers and businesses alike to understand whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed.

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