Anyone who deals with employment law and employment practices knows that the landscape of employment status is filled with potential traps and minefields with now the waters further muddied by a new addition. “Dependent Contractor” is the new work status proposal as reported on 11 July 2017.
The Taylor review was established to review modern day working practices and the current status of “worker” may be replaced by “dependent contractor” in an effort to distinguish the genuine self-employed from others.
The proposal is for more weight to be given to the concept of control when determining employment status as opposed to the concept of substitution or whether a worker can nominate somebody else to do the job for them.
Dependent contractors are most at risk of being taken advantage of by businesses and therefore more protection should be afforded to them such as being paid 1.2 times the national minimum wage. Also proposed is that if cases are to establish the employment status, then a mechanism could be put in place to prevent having to pay employment tribunal fees. Further, as well as a proposed name and shame list to be established for repeat employer offenders, those on zero hours’ contracts for more than 12 months can request fixed hours from their employers that better reflect the hours worked.
The review came about due to high profile Employment Tribunal cases from workers at Uber in October 2016 (reported here in an earlier briefing) where their status was established as being a worker rather than self-employed and in January 2017, CitySprint (cycle couriers) had a courier classified as a worker, entitling her to holiday pay and the national living wage and was not self-employed as argued by her employer.
There will no doubt be further news on the proposed work status changes in the coming months as further cases reach court with workers from DPD couriers and Deliveroo asking the courts to decide on their work status which may further change the employment landscape and encourage more companies to review their practices.