The long awaited Taylor Review, which has examined modern employment practices in UK, has been released.
Contractors across the country will be interested to hear what Matthew Taylor – chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts and the man who led the review – has suggested regarding the way people work today.
Much of the attention building up to the review’s release has focused on the increased need for flexibility and an awareness that many people today, contractors certainly included, no longer work in the ‘traditional’ way or within necessarily traditional models.
Though the review is only at the recommendation and proposal stage, prime minister Theresa May has been vocal in her support of the review so far. Without doubt though, the review will heavily impact any decision the current government makes in the employment space in the near future.
But what does the review include that’s of interest to contractors?
Well, much of the headlines around the review are on the concept of ‘dependent contractors’. This shouldn’t be confused with contractors as we understand them today, and is simply a recommended employment status term for workers within the so-called ‘gig economy’, such as those who work for Uber and Deliveroo.
‘Dependent contractors’ would be entitled to more rights and benefits than gig economy workers currently are.
Whether this term and its associated potential benefits will firstly be formalised by the government, and secondly, spread beyond the gig economy, will be a point of interest for contractors moving forward.
Much of the literature within the review focuses on fairness and quality of work. Contractors have long heralded the benefits of their type of work, and anything to ensure or boost the fairness of their contracts can only really be a good thing.
One section addresses the fact that self-employed workers such as contractors can end up paying more national insurance than other workers. The review says ‘that this situation is not justified, or sustainable, nor is it conducive to the goal of a good work economy.’
There is, importantly for contractors, a call for ‘a basic set of employment rights which should apply to all those who are not genuinely self-employed’, including sick pay and holiday pay. Greater visibility around worker rights is also a must according to the review.
There is also a suggestion that more could be done to provide self-employed workers with a voice when it comes to employment.
On this point, the review suggests that the ‘government should actively support technology that helps ensure self-employed people have the opportunity to come together and discuss the issues that are affecting them, working with employers to make sure this is positively encouraged.’
Overall, it's fair to say that the report was not the bombshell many were expecting, with the majority feeling let down by its contents and the recommendations not providing enough support for those targeted by so called unscrupulous employers.
As for the genuine contractor... well, aside from talk of yet another online tool - which we don't want to talk about, it unsurprisingly didn't offer much, if at all any, encouragement in acknowledging (yet alone rewarding - we could only hope) the risks taken to sustain a livelihood made through entrepreneurial behaviour, nor did it decide all contractors are without doubt tax evaders and need to be rounded up and asked to empty all of their gold colds from their hessian money bags for the good of the country, instead just a few coins are likely to be taken. Still, the biggest disappointment is that there remains little encouragement as to the valuable role freelancers and contractors play in the UK economy, and until this changes the outlook remains regrettably gloomy.
So, what about the recommendations actually being implemented? Well, with the likelihood of yet another general election being held in the not too distant future and potential change of leader and/or government, who knows. What we do know is that we'll be watching with a keen eye as to what comes next.
The full 116 page Taylor Review can be viewed at your leisure here.