The Gig economy, a tribunal waiting to happen?

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Over the past few weeks, you might have noticed that the ‘gig economy’ is something that’s being discussed more and more in the media. Essentially, it’s an employment market that’s categorised by lots of short-term contracts and freelance work, rather than permanent roles.

Some might say that it’s a win-win for employers and workers alike… People get to enjoy the flexibility of having less constraints placed on their time, they are free to decide the finer details of how the work is carried out, and they also have an element of ‘pick and choose’ when it comes to finding projects that they want to work on.

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Of course, the benefits for employers are obvious, too, but are some businesses taking the market conditions a bit too far, and using them to exploit their workers?   It’s an issue that’s still something of a grey area in legal terms, though there’s been an very recent attempt to shed more light on the subject, in a case brought to the Court of Appeal.

Back in February, Pimlico Plumbers, a London-based company, lost its appeal against a previous ruling that decided that a long-term worker was in fact an employee rather than a contractor, and should therefore enjoy rights such as basic holiday pay.

Other companies such as Uber and Deliveroo have also come under scrutiny, and it’s a safe assumption that discussions won’t end here. As we move into an economy with more flexibility and the traditional role of employment changes, business all across the UK will no doubt be planning their next moves.

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Of course, most employers simply want to do their best by their workforce, and they aren’t actively looking for loopholes to exploit. However rulings in recent tribunals have suggested that current legislation will stamp down on unscrupulous employers who aren’t stepping up to their responsibilities.

If you regularly rely on contractors to run your business and you enjoy the flexibility that it gives you, then just hoping for the best and acting with good intentions probably isn’t going to cut it.

Don’t risk costly tribunal procedures down the line, let HR Revolution help, get in touch to have an informal discussion about your rights and responsibilities, we look forward to taking your call +203 5311 5388 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

gig economy, a tribunal waiting to happen

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