Cass HR expert comments on the Taylor Review on workers’ rights

Matthew Taylor’s Review of Employment Practices and the Modern Economy is published today

Matthew Taylor’s Review of Employment Practices and the Modern Economy calls for, amongst other things, for a radical overhaul of employment law with new guarantees on the minimum wage and a new category of worker called a "dependent contractor" who should receive benefits such as sick pay and holiday leave. This is likely to cover workers for firms like Deliveroo and Uber.

Professor Chris Rowley, Professor Emeritus of Human Resource Management, Cass Business School comments on the Review.

“To be clear, lest we forget, this review has happened not to ‘celebrate’ this development in the working world, but only because there was a perceived problem. And it is only ‘new’ due to the use of online platforms and apps and certainly not ‘new’ in the Dickensian exploitative working conditions that have ensued.

“This is because such firms have utilised the grey area between fully employed and self-employed. The traditional ‘self-employed’ worked for themselves and had the real flexibility of working for various clients of their choice and time. This new army of so-called self-employed are engaged in insecure work, unable to turn down work and often tied to one firm – and one that is for all intents and purposes an ‘employer’ which wants to control them - but simply avoid any of the costs of employment.

“Such firms seek the maximum numerical flexibility of zero hour contracts as well as avoiding tax - NI contributions - or benefits such as sick pay, holiday entitlement and pension provisions. As such firms clearly do not think they should pay for such things or be responsible for them, who do they think should be? Also, this is a retrograde development in that such benefits are what people have come to expect in a civilised society, let a developed economy and one that aims to invest in the long-term with skills to upgrade and add value and compete in a post-Brexit world rather than engage in a futile ‘race to the bottom’ in the employment of our fellow workers.

“What does this say about the short-term perspectives and ethical behaviour of such firms and their highly-remunerated executives?”

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