HR · 27 November 2017

Employment tsar delivers mixed review of draft gig economy bill

bogus self-employment
MPs have claimed gig economy firms’such asuber have treated flexible working as a tax loophole
The author of a government-backed review into modern employment practices has broadly welcomed a draft gig economy bill seeking to tackle exploitation of on-demand workers, but warned over-regulation could spell the end of the model.

Although welcoming the principlesput forward in a new draft parliamentary bill, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), was reluctant to offer full support for the proposed legislation.

On 20 November, the parliamentary Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committees published a joint report and draft gig economy bill aimed at challenging so-called bogus self-employment? used as a route to cheap labour and tax avoidance.

Specifically, the bill included a series of recommendations to challenge exploitations among gig economy firms, chiefly through its proposal that worker? status should become the default for people using on-demand platforms to find work.

the bill would put good business on a level playing field, not being undercut by bad business, said Labour Party MP and Work and Pensions committee chair, Frank Field.

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and chair of the BEIS committee, said firms like Uber and Deliveroo continued to champion flexible models of employment, but left the burden on taxpayers and workers.

we say that companies should pay higher wages when they are asking people to work extra hours or on zero-hours contracts, she said.

responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses. We need new laws but also much tougher enforcement, to weed out those businesses seeking to exploit complex labour laws, and workers, for their competitive advantage.”

The bill reflected some of the recommendations made in Matthew Taylor’s review of modern employment practices, particularly in tightening up tax and workplace benefits responsibilities of employers.

Find out more about Matthew Taylor’s gig economy review:

Speaking as part of a panel put together by tax consultancy RSM in response to the proposed bill, Taylor said he was delighted? that the committees had broadly taken his own recommendations into account. However, he raised questions over how worker by default? would work in practice.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

HR & Employment