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Taylor review proposes new type of worker

The long-anticipated review of modern employment practices by Matthew Taylor has been published today.

The report, entitled Good Work, has been cautiously welcomed by business groups but less enthusiastically received by organisations representing workers, including the TUC.

The 115-page report calls for all work in the UK economy to be “fair and decent” and has created a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor” - distinctly different from a self-employed worker.

It recommends that any firm that controls and supervises workers - such as Deliveroo and Uber - should pay a range of benefits, including National Insurance. However the report does not go so far as to suggest banning zero hours contracts.

Author Matthew Taylor said : “Of all the issues that were raised with us as we went around the country, the one that came through most strongly was what the report calls one-sided flexibility. One-sided flexibility is where employers seek to transfer all risk onto the shoulder of workers in ways that make people more insecure and makes their lives harder to manage.”

Taylor’s recommendations include:

  • The Low Pay Commission should look at ways to apply a higher National Minimum Wage rate to non-guaranteed hours;
  • Those with flexible working arrangements should receive holiday entitlements;
  • New legislation should ensure that agency workers and those on zero hours contracts can request a more formal working relationship.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), said: “The new ‘dependent contractor’ status, if done right, should bring protections to those unfairly treated in the gig economy, whilst also protecting the genuinely self-employed. However, the tax system must continue to recognise the risk and insecurity faced daily by the genuinely self-employed … ministers must make no attempt to single them out for tax hikes.”

He warned: “Government and Parliament must now protect the genuinely self-employed from being dragged into a new category of dependent contractors.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), also raised concerns about introducing a new category of worker. He said: “If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.”