The 2017 Autumn Budget has landed and on the whole it is great news for individuals. Focusing in on employment (as it’s all we know about!), higher national living and minimum wages across the board will be music to the ears of many employees. Good news also comes from taxation, with the personal allowance raised to £11,850 and the higher rate tax threshold increased to £46,350.
Unfortunately, the topic that we were most excited to hear about- employment status- was on the receiving end of an irritating anti-climax. The government declared that a discussion paper will be published later in response to the Taylor Review, commenting that it is a complex and important issue that must be considered carefully before any changes are made. Not that this was not to be expected, however, with recent tribunal decisions regarding the status of Uber and Deliveroo’s employees hot off the press and the Taylor review likely side-lined in what has been an extremely busy 4 months for government. You know, following the general election and with Brexit and stuff.
Speaking of the Taylor Review, only last week I attended a breakfast briefing with the man himself, Matthew Taylor (what a coincidence, right?!), and so this feels like a good opportunity to gloss over the main points from his work and exactly what the government will be debating:
- Change of status of “non-employee workers” to “dependent contractors”, with a new and clarified definition provided. This would likely encompass many if not all employees of the gig economy, including Uber and Deliveroo drivers and would also likely entail more worker’s rights, holiday pay and working time regulation cover for example.
- Certain attempts to cut down on zero hour contracts without removing them completely as it is recognised that they are beneficial to some societal groups, such as students. These attempts could include whacking NMW premium rates on some zero hours contracts and introducing a right for zero hours workers to ask for a guaranteed hours contract.
As an employer who may be affected by these changes, it may be wise to investigate the possible impacts on your business and also put in place procedure that would allow you to comply with any law changes more smoothly and efficiently.