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Anthony speaks to The Law Society Gazette regarding gig economy reform.

Feb 16, 2018

Our head of employment law, Anthony Purvis has given his comments to The Law Society Gazette in response to the government's decision to defer on reform of the so-called 'gig economy'. You can read them here.


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy leanched a research project into the scale of the gig economy – the first piece of government-commissioned research into the practice. The report by former aide to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor, pays particular attention to the one-sided flexibility of employment relationships.

15% of the UK’s labour market are currently self-employed, which has seen a rise in the number of people doing ‘gig’ work – mostly casual, short-term work that is increasingly sought by people through mobile phone apps when they want to work. 

The increase in ‘disruptive’ businesses – where new ways of working and technology come together to create new products and services to better meet consumer demand – has led to a change in working practices.

Many doing 'gig' work have 'worker' or 'self employed' employment status. Employees are entitled to a full range of employment rights: the National Minimum and Living Wage, annual leave, rest breaks, maternity, paternity and adoption leave, right not to be treated less favourably as a part-time worker, right not to be treated less favourably as a fixed-term employee, right to request flexible working, protection from discrimination at work, minimum notice periods, collective redundancy consultation, statutory redundancy pay, protection from unfair dismissal and TUPE. In comparrison a worker is entitled to a range but not all employment rights: the National Minimum and Living Wage, annual leave, rest breaks, right not to be treated less favourably as a part-time worker, protection from discrimination at work.The self-employeed have no entitlement to employment rights beyond the basic health and safety and anti-discrimination framework.

The Taylor review of modern working practices made the following recommendations:

• People who work for platform-based companies, such as Deliveroo and Uber, be classed as dependent contractors;

• Strategies must be put in place to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage;

• The review suggests a national strategy to provide good work for all "for which government needs to be held accountable";

• The government should avoid further increasing the non-wage costs of employing a person, such as the apprenticeship levy;

• Employers need to prove that an individual claiming employment rights is not entitled to them. At the moment, the employee must prove their entitlement.

If you think you would like to discuss an employment issue or any of the issues raised in this blog, please contact our employment solicitors on 020 7234 0200 or

Anthony Purvis

Partner, Employment Law

Anthony offers succinct & practical advice to both businesses and individuals on various issues including redundancies, unfair and wrongful dismissals claims, unlawful discrimination, grievance & disciplinary procedures, TUPE, staff handbooks, contracts of employment, restrictive covenants & their enforcement, settlement agreements and the employment aspects of corporate reorganisations or sales. Read more...