A new report from Demos calls for a higher minimum wage for the self employed and more protections and support.
The next government should introduce a Self-Employed National Minimum Wage as a way of improving financial security for lower paid self-employed workers, a new report by think-tank Demos argues.
It says the wage would provide a legal obligation on firms to pay their contractors this minimum rate and would give leverage to the solo self-employed to raise their labour rates.
Demos says the Self-Employed National Minimum Wage should be higher than the regular National Minimum Wage to cover the additional risk lower paid self-employed workers are bearing as a result of financial insecurity.
The research also found that ‘liquid’ workers, such as gig economy workers and the self-employed face greater barriers to financial inclusion compared to traditional workers. They are less likely to hold financial products and are almost twice as likely (28%) to be turned down for financial products due to their employment history than traditional employees (15%), says the report.
The report calls for a package of solutions to improve financial security for the liquid workforce, including: a minimum wage, better financial services for people on flexible incomes, a more inclusive welfare system, measures to radically boost pensions take-up and more support with financial management.
Ben Glover, Senior Researcher at Demos and The Liquidity Trap co-author, said: “Self-employed workers are not protected by the safety net that many of us take for granted, from sick pay to maternity cover. This bargain is only fair if self-employed people earn enough to cover the additional risk they take on, but too often in Britain today this is simply not happening. That’s why we are calling for a new, higher minimum wage for the self-employed.”