The Government has today responded to the Taylor Review, published by Matthew Taylor last summer, which set out a number of proposals to reform the “Gig Economy.”

In a press release this morning, the Government announced it will today launch consultations into some areas highlighted in the review as well as some added by the Government themselves.

The response includes proposals for a new right to request ‘more stable’ working arrangements and tougher enforcement measures and penalties for employers who breach existing employment protections.

The proposals as set out in the press release however give little detail of what legislative changes are actually envisaged. The most significant measures appear to include: a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers; and quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000 and considering increasing penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

We recognise the world of work is changing and 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.

“We are proud to have record levels of employment in this country but we must also ensure that workers’ rights are always upheld.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark added:

We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges.”

These consultations in full are:

  • Consultation on enforcement of employment rights recommendations
  • Consultation on agency workers recommendations
  • Consultation on measures to increase transparency in the labour market
  • Consultation on employment status

Reports suggest that these consultations could lead to millions of gig economy workers being entitled to sick pay and holiday pay as well as the right to request a more stable contract “to provide more financial security”. There are no plans to review the employment statuses of gig economy workers, only to ensure that they are fully aware of what their employment statuses are and what rights that status brings with it.

It is important to remember however that these consultations are just that and may or may not lead to the changes to the law suggested in some media reports today.

A number of Unions have expressed their disappointment with the Government’s reaction to the Taylor review, feeling there is a long way still to go to ensure workers in the UK are fully protected by employment laws.

Trade Union Congress (TUC) described the Government’s decision as taking a “baby step, when it needed to take a giant leap” while Tim Roache of GMB Union said the plans were like “trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol”.

It is difficult to predict whether a change in the law will indeed happen however Farleys Solicitors’ employment law team are always up to date with the rights of workers and employees. If you require legal advice about your employment status and rights to holiday pay and sick pay please get in touch. Alternatively, if you are an employer looking for legal advice on the employment status and rights of your staff, we can help. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.