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The gig economy

As companies continually look for more efficient and effective ways to work and engage with their customers, changes in working practices inevitably occur.

One way organisations, particularly supply and demand firms such as Uber and Deliveroo, are streamlining their operations is by offering flexible, short-term or freelance work, rather than permanent jobs. People that work for gig economy companies are paid based on each ‘gig’ that they do, as opposed to being paid a traditional regular wage.

Does the gig economy offer much-needed flexibility or is it exploitation?

Supporters of the gig economy say that people who work within it benefit from flexible hours, allowing people to fit their work around their personal lives. In turn, there are benefits to employers too, as they only pay staff when the work is available, minimising unnecessary costs.

Due to the flexible nature of the work, people in the gig economy are usually classed as self-employed contractors so do not have the same employment rights as normal employees such as the right to receive the national minimum wage and holiday or sick pay, leading to concerns that people who work in these roles are open to exploitation.

Gig economy tribunal cases

Numerous cases involving people working in the gig economy have been addressed in tribunals, investigating whether the person working for a gig economy company is genuinely self-employed or whether they should be classed as a worker or employee.

Here are some gig economy cases that we have followed:

How do employment rights differ for employees, workers and self-employed contracts?

Employees benefit from the whole spectrum of employment rights and protections, whereas self-employed contractors do not benefit at all from any employment rights.

Workers are an in-between variation of an employee and a self-employed contractor. They have fewer rights than employees but do benefit from the right to receive the national minimum wage, the right to paid time off and protection from discrimination amongst others.

The employment status of a person is very important because the category a person falls into determines what employment rights they have.

For further support, contact our employment law specialists on 01332 340 211.

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