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The Government responds to the Taylor Review

Napthens - February 19th 2018

The Taylor Review was published last year and made a number of recommendations, specifically relating to employment status in the new “Gig Economy”. Earlier this month, the Government published its response and has indicated some areas that need further consideration and has launched a consultation process to allow employers to voice their opinions. The consultations will focus on four aspects of the report - employment status, agency workers, enforcement of employment rights and measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market. However, the Government has made the decision not to proceed further with the recommendations  concerning expedited hearings and reversing the burden of proof in employment status cases. In this article we will look at two of the consultations; employment status and enforcement of employment rights.

Employment Status

The Government has accepted the Taylor Review’s conclusions that there is a lack of clarity and certainty surrounding the tests for employment status but that the three-tier approach to employment status (employee, worker and self-employed) should be retained. Finally, the Government has agreed to develop an online tool which would assist in determining employment status.

One proposal of the Taylor Review was to redefine Workers as “Dependent Contractors”. Whilst the Government is seeking views on this as part of the consultation, in reality it appears to be little more than a renaming exercise and won’t introduce new protections alone given that Workers are already entitled to such rights as National Minimum Wage, paid holiday and statutory sick pay which are the main concerns in any commentary on the Gig Economy.

With regards to working time and National Minimum Wage, the Government is seeking views aimed primarily at pay within the Gig Economy and how individuals who work in the Gig Economy are protected in times when demand for work is reduced. Ultimately, any potential change is likely to be made in light of the Uber judgment, which confirmed that Uber drivers are in fact Workers and not self-employed as Uber had argued.

The consultation consists of 64 questions on an array of topics, including issues with the current employment status regimes, worker status and employment rights, defining working time for the purposes of National Minimum Wage and defining “self-employed” and “employers”.

Should you wish to participate in the consultation on Employment Status you can do so here up until 11:45pm on 1st June 2018.