30 Nov 2016 11:30am

Government to review gig economy and modern employment practices

The government-commissioned Taylor Review has appointed three expert panel members and announced a countrywide evidence gathering tour to inform its review of modern employment practices

Caption: Taylor Review and BEIS both commit to review the UK's growing gig economy

Further details have been revealed about the review of modern employment practices, led by Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Art, which was announced by prime minister Theresa May in October.

Three expert panel members, Paul Broadbent, Greg Marsh and Diane Nicol, have been appointed to support the six-month review, which will look at how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models.

Broadbent is chief executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), Marsh is the founder of letting company onefinestay and employment lawyer Nicol is a partner at Pinsent Masons.

Far too many people are now stuck in insecure jobs, with low pay and no voice at work

Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary

The team will embark upon a countrywide evidence gathering tour of the modern labour market, talking to employees and employers from different sectors across the country, including Maidstone, Coventry and Glasgow.

The review will pay particular attention to workers and employers working in rural economies, manufacturing and the “gig” economy in order to fully understand the impact of modern working practices and how different labour markets work.

The increase in self-employed and gig workers and the explosion of "disruptive" businesses such as Uber and Deliveroo are leading to a change in working practices.

The review will consider the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities - as well as on employer freedoms and obligations.

“We have a lot of research and policy to discuss but the most important part of our process is getting out and about to talk to businesses and workers across Britain about their experiences of modern work,” Taylor said.

“As well as making specific recommendations I hope the review will promote a national conversation and explore how we can all contribute to work that provides opportunity, fairness and dignity,” he added.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also announced the launch of a research project which aims to reveal the scale of short-term, casual work known as “gig” working and discover the reasons people take it up.

The announcement follows the recent ruling by the London Central Employment Tribunal, which found that two Uber drivers are not self-employed but workers who are entitled to essential workers’ rights including to be paid the National Minimum Wage and receive paid holiday.

The ruling will likely encourage more gig workers to bring claims against their employers in order to secure better employee rights.

Business minister Margot James said, “The Taylor Review is a hugely important step towards us ensuring fairness for everyone in work. Helping us to understand what impact modern employment practices have on workers will inform our forthcoming industrial strategy and also help us ensure our labour market and wider economy works for everyone.

"We recognise the importance of being open to new and innovative ways of working – and having a skilled and flexible workforce is part of what makes the UK an attractive place to do business. But it is also crucial that workers receive a decent wage and that people working in all sorts of jobs are able to benefit from the right balance of flexibility, rights, and protections,” she added.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary welcomed the review, saying it is "an opportunity to bring the rules protecting workers into the 21st century, and to improve rights for millions of working people".

She added, “Far too many people are now stuck in insecure jobs, with low pay and no voice at work.

“As we have recently seen at Uber and Sports Direct, strong unions are key to exposing bad bosses and winning a better deal for working people.”

The government also published a green paper on reforming corporate governance this week with measures that could result in the most radical shake-up in corporate governance for at least a decade.

Sinead Moore


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