The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was published recently detailing a number of suggested changes to the law governing employment status. The intention of the review was to ensure employment practices change in line with modern business models.
This is particularly needed in light of the rapid growth of the gig economy with companies such as Uber relying on self-employed drivers using its app, which drivers are largely dependent on, to provide taxi services to customers.
The rise in the gig economy has therefore, resulted in the need to re-classify the employment statuses of ‘employees’, ‘workers’, and ‘self-employed’ to ensure that all fit within the confines of either group.
The review suggests the introduction of a further category, ‘dependent contractor’ to define those who have ‘worker’ status but do not have ‘employee’ rights and, therefore, those who fall into this category should not be restricted to those who are required to perform work personally. This would be based on the principle of ‘control’ being considered as the key factor with legislation defining what this should mean in the current labour market.
The review also proposes to re-define the boundary of those within the ‘worker’ status within the gig-economy to ensure that where there is a genuine two-way flexibility with workers being able to accept or decline available jobs, there may be times where labour supply outstrips demand. This would affect the National Minimum Wage Regulations which would have to be adapted so that workers would be entitled to payment for platform work, but would have the responsibility of choosing to work when there is low demand.
The review looks at a number of other factors such as:
- Introducing a written statement requirement for dependent contractors;
- Increasing casual and zero-hour workers’ pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks;
- Introducing ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay where individuals can choose to be paid a premium on holiday leave which is not taken;
- The ability for agency workers to request a full contract following 12 months’ full employment; and
- The reformation of Statutory Sick Pay so that it become a basic employment right.
If you believe you may be affected by any of these rights, please reach out to SA Law for relevant advice.