The global solution for human resource professionals, combines custom research, strategic white papers, country primers, webinars and OnDemand educational programs, and the expert guidance...
By Ali Qassim
The British government is seeking views on how it can clarify employment status rules to make it easier for businesses to understand whether individuals they hire for work should be classified as an employee, a worker, or self-employed.
With more citizens working for gig employers like ride-hailing service Uber Technologies or Amazon.com’s fast-delivery service, businesses need more clarity about workers’ legal status to determine which employment rights and tax obligations apply to them. Without greater clarity, according to the government consultation document, businesses may be “wasting time and energy trying to understand the rules,” while allowing “unscrupulous employers and individuals to game the system in order to save on employment costs and taxes.” According to the government. for example, many large gig-economy companies are currently designating workers as self-employed to limit any holiday or sickness pay due them and to reduce employment tax liabilities.
One of the highest-profile examples of this issue is the 2016 Employment Tribunal ruling that Uber drivers in the U.K. are entitled to basic workers’ rights like minimum wage and paid vacation. But attorneys widely agreed that even this landmark ruling fails to clearly distinguish between employees and contractors.
Among other things, the government is seeking comment on whether the definition of “worker” in existing legislation is confusing because it covers both employees and workers and has proposed renaming the category of people who are eligible for worker rights but are not employees as “dependent contractors.”
Employment associations have widely welcomed the four-months-long consultation. Kevin Green, the chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, for example, pointed out that “the way we work is undergoing drastic changes and it’s high time that regulations around the gig economy are aligned with other flexible workers.”
Chris Bryce, the CEO of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, agreed that “the world of self-employment has been shrouded in confusion for some time because of the lack of clarity about employment status,” and Tania Bowers, general counsel for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, said her lobby group is “very supportive of the Government’s desire for clarity—particularly on employment status and how this is aligned to tax status, workers’ rights and entitlements, and the differentiation between employed, workers, and self-employed.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Ali Qassim in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at email@example.com
The Employment Status Consultation is available here.
For more information on British HR law and regulation, see the U.K. primer.
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)