Government proposes more protection for gig workers

Government launches consultation on improving rights for gig workers.

Gig Economy


The Government has launched a consultation on proposed new rights for gig workers, including entitlement to a reasonable period of notice when shifts are changed.

The  Good Work Plan consultation includes proposals for compensation for workers when shifts are cancelled at short notice and additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept shifts last minute.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities, providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.

“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly.”

Low Pay Commission Chair Bryan Sanderson said: “Last year we looked at the data on one-sided flexibility and talked to workers and businesses across the UK. Our report, published in December, found that shift cancellations and short notice of work schedules were significant problems, especially for low-paid workers.

“The proposed changes, part of a package of policies we suggested, have the potential to improve work and life for hundreds of thousands of people.”

The Matthew Taylor review of modern working recommended that the Low Pay Commission should examine the issue of one-sided flexibility which is more in the interests of employers than employees. Nearly 40% of UK workers say that their hours can vary from week-to-week, with approximately 1.7 million individuals feeling anxious that their working hours could change unexpectedly.

The proposed measures follow the government’s announcement that it is consulting on creating a single labour market enforcement body, which aims to strengthen protections for workers and provide them with new rights.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education has announced that it will be investing £100m in the National Retraining Scheme, a programme to retain people whose jobs will be made obsolete by advances in robotics or artificial intelligence. Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the country was “facing unprecedented industrial change, both in pace and from the sheer number of new technologies, and we need to be ready.” A pilot in Liverpool will involve around 1,000 people, with participants required to be over 24, without a degree, and earning less than £25,000.

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