Prime Minister, Theresa May is happy to consider overhauling the rights of self-employed workers to better reflect 21st century employment practices, according to Matthew Taylor, the chair of the UK government’s review into modern-day employment practices.
Mr Taylor confirmed in a television interview with Robert Peston this weekend that he would be recommending amendments to the rights of self-employed workers when his review is published in June.
The review is expected to uncover the blurred lines between those who are self-employed – and subsequently get few employment rights – and those who are classified as employees – who are eligible for full rights.
Taylor said to ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “If you are subject to control – if as an individual in the relationship with the person who’s hiring you, they control your work, they control the basis upon which you work, they control the content of your work – that looks like the kind of relationship where the quid pro quo should be that you respect that person’s employment rights and entitlements.”
The issue has resulted in some recent high-profile court cases, most notably involved Uber, where the car transportation network lost an employment tribunal case against taxi drivers who believed the stringent work conditions placed upon them meant they weren’t technically self-employed, but employees who were entitled to sick pay and a National Minimum Wage.
Taylor believes the boundary is a “question of control” that businesses have over their workers.
“If you want to control your workers, you will have to respect their rights and provide entitlements, too, but if you really don’t want to control them, that’s fine, then they’ll be self-employed,” added Taylor.
“But it looks like there are cases at the moment where firms both want control but not to provide those workers with entitlements and rights.”
On the subject of the Prime Minister’s views on Taylor’s recommendations, Taylor admitted that although May had been “supportive so far”, he acknowledged that his endorsements will be in the lap of the future political gods.
“[What] I have to do is produce the best recommendations I can – in the end it’s up to government to decide what they can implement and that puts us back in the domain of politics,” added Taylor.
Image: Davide Simonetti