If Elected Labour Will Ditch ‘Worker’ Employment Status

The electioneering has begun with the Labour Party publishing their New Deal for Working People green paper which outlines their plans for employment rights if they win the next election.  Interestingly, they plan to clamp down on false self-employment by ditching ‘worker’ employment status, which will leave us with two options for work – employed or self-employed.

Presumably this means that temporary workers, zero hour workers, agency workers, and gig workers will all become ’employees’ as they are clearly not self-employed.  And if workers become employees, they will be entitled to all accompanying statutory rights and benefits of employment, many of which they are not currently entitled to in their current status as ‘workers’.

Labour’s policy paper also promises to “strengthen protections for the self-employed who also suffer from insecurity, uncertainty, and a lack of basic rights”.  This is good news, however no details have been given on how this will be achieved.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, gave a speech at the TUC Congress, during which she pledged that a Labour government would:

  • Outlaw the use of predictive technologies for blacklisting  (NB – this is important for the gig economy)
  • Give trade unions a new legal, reasonable right to access workplaces
  • Simplify trade union recognition process so that gig economy and remote workers can meaningfully organise
  • Repeal the Minimum Service Levels Bill (which legislates to restrict strike action in public services)
  • Boost collective bargaining, starting with a Fair Pay Agreement in adult social care
  • Bring in basic rights for all workers from day one
  • End fire and rehire practices
  • Increase statutory sick pay and make it available to all
  • Ban zero hour contracts

Labour will also bring in the ‘right to switch off’, so working from home does not become a 24/7 office. Workers will have a new right to disconnect from work outside of working hours and not be contacted by their employer outside of working hours.

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