In 2017, Matthew Taylor, former aide to Tony Blair and currently Chief Executive at the Royal Society of Arts completed a review into “Employment Practices in the Modern Economy” that found that modern employment practices needed to change to keep pace with modern business models. The increase in zero-hours contracts and the use of self-employed and part-time labour has led to current employment legislation and practices becoming out of date.

The gig economy has been one of the largest factors in prompting the report of this, as have the employment models of well-known firms such as Deliveroo and Uber. It’s currently estimated that over £1m people are working in Britain’s gig economy.

The government’s response to the Taylor review has been to promise improved conditions for millions of workers which will include those employed within the ‘gig economy’.

The Good Work plan, published last week by the government, sets out proposals that go further than the recommendations set out in the Taylor review.

The Good Work plan looks at 3 areas:

  • Protecting Workers Rights – this will include monitoring interns to ensure they are not replacing an employee, naming and shaming of employers that don’t pay employment tribunal awards, increasing tribunal fees for employers that show malice and also increasing fines for repeat offenders
  • Ensuring fairness of pay – providing all ‘agency workers’ with pay slips that breakdown their pay and deductions
  • Increasing employer transparency – providing clear ‘working times’ to zero-hours workers, encourage shared parental leave with working parents, raise awareness for new and expectant mothers regarding the rights of the worker and the responsibilities of the employer

The reaction from organisations and unions looking for more workers rights have been mixed with Matthew Taylor, the author of the original report stating that the government’s response would make a “difference to the most vulnerable in society”. Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, however was less complimentary and claimed that the government had taken a baby step when this was the opportunity to take a giant leap.