Are ‘Workers’ about to be no more?

Posted on Apr 3, 2017

According to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, the distinction between ‘employee’ and ‘worker’ should be abolished. This comes to light after the spotlight is firmly shining on the protections agency workers and those in the gig economy.

According to the inquiry there is currently a three-tier structure of employment relationships. ‘Employees’ are sitting pretty at the top, as they have the most rights, ‘workers’ are stuck in middle with some rights which appear to be blurred, whilst the ‘self-employed’ have very few rights.

Certain businesses are looking to grant their ‘workers’ with as few rights as possible to minimise any regulation and to save costs, often labelling them as self-employed, but does the uncertainty in this area just create greater exposure?  If we examine the current run of cases such as Uber, CitySprint and Pimlico Plumbers, and there are more in the pipeline (excuse the pun!) then the answer seems to be yes.

Businesses should therefore look at the reality of their operations and how they require their staff to work with a view to providing at minimum, basic rights to their workers.  Otherwise they are potentially operating in a false landscape with expensive exposure just around the corner.  Some certainty by way of regulation in this area would be welcome.