Labour Party promises to end bogus self-employment

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has reiterated their promise to strengthen worker rights and tackle bogus self-employment if they are elected later this year.  Their pledges include:

  • Tackling bogus self-employment;
  • Strengthening existing worker rights and protections for all;
  • Banning zero-hours contracts;
  • Ending “fire and rehire” tactics used by employers.

New single status of worker

Many people work like regular employees – in uniform, full time, with work set entirely by management – but are falsely classified as self-employed workers doing freelance work for that company.  It is this rise in bogus self-employment that Labour want to tackle as people are not receiving basic rights and protections.

Currently there are three employment statuses: employee, worker and self-employed.  Recent litigation, particularly in the gig economy, has highlighted confusion about the different statuses and accompanying benefits.  Labour believe that having a single ‘worker’ status for everyone, except for those who are genuinely self-employed, will remove any ambiguity and extend statutory rights to more people.

Strengthening existing rights 

Labour have said they will raise Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and make it available all workers, including the self-employed and those on low wages currently cut out by the lower earnings limit for eligibility.  It’s very positive to see a policy that specifically supports the welfare of self-employed people, many of whom  were ineligible for financial support during Covid.

Labour also plans to bring in day-one rights to replace the current two-year qualifying period for certain protections such as unfair dismissal.  Alongside this, zero hours contracts will be banned and all workers will be entitled to a guaranteed minimum number of hours.  Plus, anyone working regular hours for twelve weeks or more will gain a right to a regular contract to reflect those hours normally worked.

Will any of it actually happen? 

Labour have promised to introduce new legislation within 100 days so that their promises are quickly enshrined in law.  According to Angela Rayner: “We said that we’ll put the bill before parliament in the first hundred days. We’re committed to that.”

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