UK plans series of changes to boost gig economy workers

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 12 Jul 2017, 15:03:00 | Updated : 12 Jul 2017, 16:08:26

UK plans series of changes to boost gig economy workers

UK plans series of changes to boost gig economy workers
The British government tried to tackle a question Tuesday that is troubling countries around the world: how to protect workers without stifling the way technology is changing the workplace, a global media reports Wednesday. 

A government-commissioned report, led by Matthew Taylor, who advised former prime minister Tony Blair on policy, proposed a series of changes that could significantly change how companies in the so-called “gig economy”, such as Uber, operate in Britain.

If implemented, the plans might force them to pay tax, holiday and sick pay, while retaining some flexibility on paying the minimum wage of £7.50 an hour for 25-year-olds and over.

The government prides itself on the open and tech-friendly economy: Uber has taken off quickly in most cities and the homegrown food delivery company Deliveroo has expanded worldwide.

But the rise of these companies has triggered protests from unions and some workers in the UK, just as it has in other countries such as the US, France, India and Australia.

Gig economy platforms connect workers with customers without taking any responsibility for them as employees. In many countries, these workers seem to fall into a legal no man’s land: not truly independent because the platforms often control and monitor them closely, but not quite employees because they use their own tools and “log on” to work when they choose.

The world will watch Britain’s attempt to deal with the gig economy closely. The review’s first proposal is for the government to define clearly in primary legislation when someone is a “dependent contractor” - the review’s suggested new name for an intermediate “third” employment status.

The third status (currently called “worker”) has long existed in UK law but has until now been fuzzily defined. Mr Taylor may have borrowed the term from Canada, which successfully introduced a dependent contractor status decades ago.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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