UK govt outlines reforms for gig economy workers’ rights

gig economy

The UK government has outlined a package of reforms in response to the changing working patterns driven by the emergence and rise of gig economy businesses such as Deliveroo and Uber.

In its Good Work: A response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices report, the government said “millions” of workers in the UK will get new day-one rights, as well as enjoying improved enforcement of rights over sick and holiday pay.

Commenting on the findings, UK PM 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. Our response to this report will mean tangible progress towards that goal as we build an economy that works for everyone.”

The reforms, known as the ‘Good Work Plan’ come after the government-commissioned ‘Taylor Review’ report and follow on from increasing criticism over the way in which workers in the gig economy are being treated. The UK has also borne witness to a series of legal challenges, including that of a couple of Uber drivers, who took their case to the employment tribunal in 2016 and successfully challenged the firm’s definition of them as self-employed contractors.

Business secretary Greg Clark spoke about the government’s proposals. He said: “The Taylor Review said that the current approach to employment is successful but that we should build on that success, in preparing for future opportunities.

“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.”

May’s raft of new labour policies have been met with varying degrees of disappointment by workers, trade unions and the opposition as the government has only actually committed to consulting on potential changes to the use of self-employment, which may not result in actual changes to the law.