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Inquiry into the rights of workers in the ‘gig economy’

November 2016

The Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched an inquiry into the so called ‘gig’ economy.

The term ‘gig economy’ is, as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics defines it, a workforce characterized by “single project[s] or task[s] for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand”. The largest and most well-known company that works along these lines is Uber Technologies Inc. Relying on a fleet of drivers using their own personal cars, their drivers work for that single fare and are not employed by Uber. There are other companies operating along similar lines, Deliveroo and Hermes being just two, that have also received criticism for their practices.

MPs have said the Inquiry was in response to worries about the exploitation of workers not permanently employed, and to investigate workers rights.

The inquiry aims to examine those working in non-traditional employee roles, specifically:

Whether the term ‘worker’ is defined sufficiently clearly in law and if not how it should be defined;

This shows the growing recognition within Parliament that employment as a concept is changing and becoming more flexible. However, the inquiry has only just started and there is no date set yet for which we will find out its eventual conclusions. It is obviously a topic of concern for employers and employees so we shall have to wait and watch further developments closely.

 

 

 

Matthew Cole

Employment Partner

e mcole@prettys.co.uk

t 01473 298221

 

 

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