Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, says the Mathew Taylor Report has struck the right balance on flexible work.
Martin, formerly the CEO of the Scunthorpe-based Clugston Group, says the newly-published report brings more clarity to the ambiguous definitions of employment status in the UK, and will reassure most employers, who often shy away from offering employee-style benefits to their self-employed contractors for fear of exposing themselves to legal challenges.
He said: “Translating the headline proposals in today’s review into practice and legislation will now require a substantial combined effort from politicians, businesses, individuals, and trade unions. In that sense, suggestions that the proposals amount to just tinkering around the rules are off the mark.
“Despite the often one-sided narrative that surrounds the gig economy, it is welcome to see the Taylor Report recognises the value of flexible labour to the UK economy and to individuals themselves. We are pleased Taylor has taken on board a number of recommendations made by the IoD, including further legal definitions of employment status, which 75% our of members support. This would enable businesses to reap the benefits of flexible work without concerns about the ambiguous legal language that exists at the boundary between self-employment and non-employee work. In addition, the suggestion to improve government guidance to individuals of the benefits and challenges of entering different employment categories is a positive step.
“The proposal to ask gig platforms to provide real-time information on the earning potential of individuals at any given point is a good one. Advances in data analytics have enormous potential to help those in self-employment understand how much they can earn and when to choose to work to best suit their lifestyle. The IoD has also proposed giving gig workers more control over their own data by allowing them to carry their work histories and ratings across with them, to increase competition on the growing number of platforms.”
He added that despite the review’s many positive proposals, there was still an urgent need to look at simplification of the tax landscape for employees and the self-employed. “Tax must be part of the solution,” he said. “The IoD wants to see better alignment in national insurance contributions between employees and the self-employed.”