Self-employed not looking for working rights, study shows

Monday 21 November 2016

Self-employed people are not searching for working rights in the UK’s gig economy, a new study has suggested. 

Research from ContractorCalculator found that more than 80 per cent are not interested in receiving employment rights. 

These findings come after Theresa May ordered an employment practices review to look at job security and pay. It follows an employment tribunal involving cab hire service Uber and some of its workers. 

According to the study, just seven per cent of respondents believe they would benefit from employment rights, making it vital that any move does not damage the country’s contractors. 

What’s more, 88 per cent of those polled said they are not looking for paternity or maternity rights, while 82 per cent do not want paid sick leave and 85 per cent are against holiday rights and pay.

As well as this, 80 per cent are not interested in extra rights to assist with grievances or disciplinary matters and 94 per cent are not looking for restrictions on the amount of working hours they do. 

ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin said: “These results are not surprising. The Government needs to understand that the negative reports associated with self-employed couriers and drivers are woefully unrepresentative of all of the self-employed.”

Mr Chaplin went on to say that there are millions of self-employed businesspeople who do not want extra legislation. 

What are self-employed workers looking for?

As the study indicates that contractors are not interested in more legislation, it is interesting to see why this is the case. 

Mr Chaplin believes that “knee-jerk” legislation and red tape that emerged during David Cameron’s time as prime minister had an adverse affect on the sector.

“The Government needs to be very careful how it decides to legislate and protect under-paid workers in the gig-economy without destroying the very valuable freelance sector that underpins the UK workforce and economy,” he explained.

The UK’s departure from the EU means that the country will have to rely on its contractors more than ever before to ensure its future prosperity, Mr Chaplin went on to say.

It will be interesting to see if the Uber tribunal does lead to significant changes in the contractor sector and whether they turn out to be positively or negatively received by workers. 

Whatever the case is, the government must ensure that it works closely with independent workers to guarantee that any changes made benefit the industry. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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