Gig economy proposals: comment from Howard Kennedy
A draft Bill announced today, 20 November, proposes that ‘worker’ should become the default employment status for people operating with the gig economy. The reforms put the onus on the employer to make case for self-employment. Employers would face punitive fines for incorrectly classifying a worker as self-employed thereby denying the worker with certain rights such as holiday pay and the national minimum wage.
Jane Amphlett, partner and head of employment at Howard Kennedy, the law firm comments:
Platform-based working can offer genuine two-way flexibility and provides opportunities to those not able to work in more conventional ways and not all businesses adopt this model as a means of exploiting their workforces.
“Determining employment status is far from straightforward and both businesses and individuals need protection in understanding their legal obligations. Often, status is arguable and therefore it will be difficult in practice to evidence that a business had deliberately and falsely classified workers as self-employed in considering a punitive fine.
“Proposals to impose a default 'worker' status could lead to an unfair burden on businesses. If the onus is on the 'employer' to prove self-employed status in any claim, there will need to be careful thought given to deterring vexatious claims.
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