Ipse: Gig economy review must look at self-employment grey areas

Thursday 22 December 2016

The UK’s independent professionals are incredibly valuable to the country’s economy, helping to provide some of the country’s top services and leading the way in innovation. 

However, in order for the industry to operate effectively, proper legislation needs to be in place that both accelerates growth and provides creatives with the protection they need in order to remain productive. 

To assess the country’s gig economy, the prime minister Theresa May has announced a full-scale review to look at the pros and cons of the sector. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (Ipse) has welcomed this move.

Ipse director of policy Simon McVicker commented on the plans, noting that recent years have seen dramatic changes in the structure of the labour market. 

Mr McVicker believes the review is a “vital opportunity” to provide clarity regarding modern employment relationships and how they should be handled within the employment and welfare system. 

He emphasised that the report could have “huge implications” for self-employed professionals. 

“The majority of freelancers love what they do, and would not want to work any other way. 

“However, there is a small minority who feel they have been forced into bogus self-employment, and the Review must examine those business models which risk exploiting people. If an individual is engaged like an employee, they must have employment protections,” Mr McVicker explained. 

What protections do professionals want? 

While independent professionals make a massive difference to the UK’s productivity, they often miss out on some of the standards afforded to regular employees. 

As those working for themselves are their own boss, they often do not have the same employment laws as regular workers. However, the new review from Theresa May could help to improve legislation for visitors and make it easier for professionals to flourish. 

Already, there are plenty of benefits for independent professionals, allowing them to set their own timetable and take projects at dates and times that suit them. 

By not having to stick to a strict 9 to 5 working day, creatives can work at times when they are most productive, which often ensures better results and happier clients. 

What’s more, working independently allows people to experiment with new ideas and become more innovative, rather than sticking to conventional projects that may not be the most imaginative. 

Hopefully, the new review will be able to allow employees to secure more rights and continue to work independently. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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