The Prime Minister plans to end a legal loophole which allows firms to pay agency workers less than full-time staff.

Theresa May plans to boost the rights of workers in the gig economy on areas including flexibility and pay, the Guardian has reported. It will be part of a new set of measures to overhaul employment laws.

One such measure would be to end a legal loophole that allows companies to pay agency workers less than full-time staff for doing the same job. According to the Guardian, business secretary Greg Clark hopes to implement several key recommendations from a review by Matthew Taylor.

More rights for workers

Proposals from the government include:

  • New legislation to give gig economy workers the right to request a temporary or fixed-hours contract after 12 months
  • Look into notice periods and compensation for cancelled shifts, following the advice of the low-pay commission on how to address what Taylor described as “one-sided flexibility”
  • Clarify the criteria that determines whether people are workers or self-employed by bringing tax and employment laws into alignment. This could mean that more people currently defined as self-employed by firms such as Uber or Deliveroo would be entitled to worker protection.
  • Name and shame employers that fail to pay out after employment tribunals as a deterrent to those that are considering flouting the law. Government data shows that more than a third of successful claimants never receive any of their compensation. And less than half are paid in full
  • Change the law so that the state can force companies to give paid holiday to vulnerable workers. Failing to do so could incur tough financial penalties. These penalties will be similar to those which already exists for underpayment of the minimum wage.

“At its best, a job can be a genuine vocation, providing the means to intellectual and personal fulfillment, as well as economic security,” May said following the launch of the Taylor report in July 2017.

Agency workers to be protected too

Ministers are also expected to explore new powers targeting companies which break agency worker regulations. This has been proposed by a separate review/. This review recommends policies such as imposing fines on companies which fail to give staff holiday or sick pay.

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