On 11 July 2017, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May launched the final report of the Taylor Review into Modern Work Practices. The UK Government commissioned this review of modern work practices, to meet the needs of the gig economy, growing technology usage and changing employment patterns. The review was conducted by Matthew Taylor, President of Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce with a strong focus on the role of UK workplace laws and gig economy workers. Already some academics and others are arguing that the Taylor Review’s recommendations have relevance for Australia.
The recommendations of the Taylor Review include:
- Legislation to provide clarity on who is an employee or contractor. Like Australia, the UK relies heavily on the common law to determine who is an employee and who is a contractor. The Report recommended that workers should easily and cheaply be able to seek a determination from the relevant employment Tribunal confirming their status as a contractor or employee.
- A new statutory definition of ‘dependent contractor’ should be introduced. A dependent contractor would be neither an employee or self-employed, but a contractor eligible for worker entitlements under UK employment laws. It was proposed that any definition should be based on the principle of how much control is exercised over the contractor.
- Gig economy workers who are ‘dependent contractors’ should be entitled to the national minimum wage while enjoying maximum flexibility. The national minimum wage could be based on piece rates legislation ($ for output) but should on average exceed the national minimum wage with a 20% margin of error. Contractors would not be paid for time they are logged into an app, but only for work performed. Where remuneration is affected by demand, platforms would be required to notify contractors beforehand with real time data.
- Requiring employers and digital platform providers to provide information statements to dependent contractors about their worker status at commencement.
- Introduce a right to request direct contract employment for agency workers (labour hire) who have been with the same hirer for 12 months and an obligation on the hirer to consider the request in a reasonable manner.
If you would like assistance in determining entitlements for employees and contractors, please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.
Alternatively, if you would like assistance in structuring your employment arrangements, please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.