Taylor review: solicitors warn of 'gargantuan' legislative burden

"Government should consider accrediting a range of platforms created to support the move towards more cashless transactions with a view to increasing transparency of payments, supporting individuals to pay the right tax", Mr Taylor recommended. If implemented, these recommendations would mean gig economy employers will be liable to pay Employers' NICs.

The review recommends that existing piece rate legislation be adapted to allow companies to compensate dependent contractors based on their output, provided the platform can demonstrate through data shared with the individual that an average individual, working averagely hard, successfully clears the national minimum wage with a 20 per cent margin of error.

Speaking this morning, Taylor argued that many zero hours contract workers "choose" to work that way, saying "it suits them".

The report into modern working practices proposes wide-ranging changes. These should be protected while ensuring fairness for those who work through these platforms and those who compete with them. In his review he sought to give more protection and force firms to offer a fairer deal, but without closing the option altogether.

A new government-backed report has outlined seven steps United Kingdom business owners need to take in order to ensure they are offering their employees "fair and decent work" - though has also suggested cash transactions could be a thing of the past. "The government should be under no illusions that any moves to restrict flexibility could undermine the very thing that attracts people to work in this sector".

"We would welcome greater clarity in the law over different types of employment status", said Andrew Byrne, head of policy for Uber in the UK.

Stock photo of an Uber sign.

"Ultimately, if it looks and feels like employment, it should have the status and protection of employment", the report found.

The gig economy refers to workers for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo who are treated as self-employed and can therefore earn less than the minimum wage. "We know drivers want more security too which is why we're already investing in discounted illness and injury cover, and will be introducing further improvements soon".

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This suggests that the Treasury and HMRC consider such reforms may be more complicated and time consuming than the Taylor review team envisaged.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey added: "Put simply, today's Taylor report shows that Theresa May is failing working people across the country". Otherwise, they say, people could log on in the middle of the night and earn the minimum wage when there are no requests for deliveries or rides.

The review recommends changes to the status and entitlement of workers in the gig economy.

In addition to the key changes above, the recommendations touch on other areas such as worker representation, resolution of disputes at Employment Tribunals, and regulation of agencies that supply temporary workers. If Taylor's recommendations are followed, the legal action won't end, noted Kemp Little employment partner Kathryn Docks.

"A new minimum wage for overtime, forms of which already operate in the U.S. and Australia, would be a big change for low earning workers struggling with tight budgets and insecure earnings", said the Foundation's director Torsten Bell.

"Indeed nearly all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed", said Andrew Byrne, head of policy for Uber in the UK.

In the report, Taylor says there must be more to tackle job insecurity which affects those millions of workers who are in self-employment or on zero-hours contracts for companies such as Deliveroo or Uber.

The right to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for dependent contractors could be watered down as the review recommends gig economy employers adopt a piece-rate method of payment rather than an hourly rate of pay.

  • Marjorie Miles