Government announces big shake up for gig economy

Gig economy workers, including workers on zero-hour contracts and agency workers, are to be better protected by the biggest upgrade in workers’ rights in a generation, the Government says.

According to new legislation announced this week, changes include employers no longer being legally authorised to take a proportion of tips left to workers for good service.

The Good Work Plan, part of the modern Industrial Strategy, aims to reinforce the “historic tradition of the UK leading the world in the rights and protections we all benefit from, whether – worker, innovator or business owner.”

It forms part of a major plan to reform employment laws and seeks to clarify the rights of low-paid workers and those in more flexible roles, such as interns, agency workers and those on zero-hour contracts.

As well as a ban on making deductions from staff tips, the Government is proposing a right to request a fixed working pattern for those individuals who do not have zero-hour contracts after 26 weeks of any non-fixed working pattern. Employers will also have to set out the pay and entitlement of individual workers, in writing, on day one of their employment.

Adding to this, agency workers and other staff in more flexible roles, including interns for example, must now be paid the same amount as their permanent counterparts.

Phil Pepper, Employment Law partner at Shakespeare Martineau, comments: “All in all, these proposals do look wide ranging and will shake up employment rights for many individuals.  Some of these proposals may not be entirely welcomed by employers in the current economic climate.  We are yet to see any draft legislation and dates for implementation, so we may see more details in due course.”

At Beavis Morgan, we understand the challenges faced by business owners. We work with many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across a wide range of industry sectors, guiding them though the various stages of business life from start up to exit and all the challenges in between.

Should you require a review of your business’ payroll records and any contracts with self-employed consultants, please get in touch with us. Our employment experts will provide guidance on whether or not we feel your company is at risk of challenge by HMRC under the employment regulations.

Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner for further information about how we can assist you and your business.