The rise of the ‘gig economy’

For those of you who are not aware, a new phenomenon is upon us known as the ‘gig economy’. A new trend in which temporary or self-employed positions are common and companies contract independent workers for short-term engagements and casual employment, think along the lines of new companies such as Deliveroo and Uber.

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Recently the Guardian newspaper conducted an investigation into working conditions at the employer Sports Direct and as a direct result MPs launched an inquiry into pay and working conditions in the UK.

They produced a pretty damning report on them, stating that working for Sports Direct was akin to working in a Victorian workhouse.  They exposed poor working practices, agency workers being paid less than the minimum wage and exploited through suspect voluntary schemes, such as pre-paid debit cards and deductions from pay for insurance services.

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This trend raises questions over employment status and lack of worker rights.  The fact being that these self-employed contractors are not entitled to earn the “national living wage” or receive benefits such as sickness or holiday pay.

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However on 28th October, there was a ground breaking UK employment court tribunal decision against Uber; read the full article in The Guardian,  where the court ruled that Uber drivers are not self-employed and should be paid the “national living wage”, a landmark case that could affect tens of thousands of workers.

So in turn this will obviously effect many employers as well, so if you have any queries or concerns about workers rights contact us at HR Revolution where we will be happy to assist.

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