The gig economy: Is this the future?

Almost a fifth of working-age people “would consider” some form of gig work (short term contracts or freelance work) in the future, according to a major new study.

The report revealed that there are currently 1.1 million gig economy workers in the UK, a similar workforce size to the NHS in England! This type of worker has restricted employment rights and may not be entitled to benefits such as holiday pay. The research has argued that gig workers should be given more employment rights and advocated changing employment rights to “empower” gig economy workers. The debate about the employment status of gig workers continues and there are concerns that the law needs to be clarified.

The report’s recommendations included shifting the burden of proof onto the business, to prove that gig workers are not employees (and therefore not entitled to full employment benefits), imposing tougher penalties on firms that hide behind employment status legislation and removing tribunal fees for those people who do challenge their employment status, whilst fast-tracking the tribunal process for these claims.

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