Temporary Staff | Gig economy reforms get mixed reaction

Gig economy reforms get mixed reaction

The government is planning to introduce measures which will “fire the starting gun” on the race to professionalise the gig economy.

This will include scrapping the loophole known as the Swedish derogation which allows companies to pay agency workers less than full-time staff. Workers will also be able to access a written statement of rights on their first day, the maximum employment tribunal fees for employers who show “malice, spite and gross oversight” will be quadrupling, and seasonal workers’ entitlement to paid holidays and a right to request a “more stable” contract will be bolstered.

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Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, suggested the new reforms are the first step towards a new form of labour market. “The Government’s new workplace reforms have fired the starting gun on the race to professionalise the gig economy,” he explained.

“Short-term employees are proving to be more vital to the UK’s economy with each passing day as companies compete to plug the skills gap created by digitalisation."

"1.6 million businesses plan to hire temporary or contract staff in the next 12 months so providing these in-demand workers with greater protection can deliver increased productivity and growth.

“Flexible, strategic staffing models – those with a dynamic mix of permanent employees and highly-skilled temporary professionals – can provide companies of all sizes with the agility to quickly increase or decrease the size of their workforce based on workload demands and confidence amidst a backdrop of economic uncertainty.”

However, Phil Jukes, HR Consultant at Jaluch, described the timing of the announcement as “crazy.”

“While it may be seen as a priority given debates over the gig economy in the last few years, in the current climate we don’t know whether our economy is on the up or the down, and whether we will be able to recruit essential staff from Europe to resource roles,” he said. “The timing of this announcement given the chaos over Brexit seems crazy.

“In practical terms laws will need to be changed to accommodate these changes, for example contracts being issued from day one of employment rather than within eight weeks of starting. This will create massively more administration in those sectors where there is a high reliance on seasonal or temporary workers, such as farm workers, retail and hospitality etc.

“Many workers in continental Europe work in the ‘shadow market’ or ‘black market’, and this could encourage more UK employers to do the same in order to save money on administration by using alternative methods of recruitment and avoid potential labour charges,” he added.



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