Theresa May plans self-employment review

Monday 3 October 2016

Prime minister Theresa May has announced plans to set up a review of working practices and the rights of the self-employed, with plans to establish new laws protecting those who work independently.

Ms May's aim is to ensure that employment practices are “keeping pace with the changing world of work” and to ensure that those who are self-employed are protected. It also looks to ensure that Britain is a country that “works for everyone,” not just for the privileged few.

The review will focus on workplace rights, amid concerns that around six million people do not have standard workplace rights and employment benefits such as maternity leave, sick pay, holiday pay and pensions - common issues for those who are self-employed.

It will also assess various employment practices such as zero-hour contracts, and will examine the changing business models and working practices that undermine the limitations of employment laws. This covers issues like job security, training, new forms of representation outside traditional unions and whether technology can create new opportunities for the elderly and disabled.

In order to conduct the review Theresa May has appointed Matthew Taylor, chief executive for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and a former adviser to former prime minister Tony Blair.

Regarding the review, Theresa May said: “We are building a new centre ground in British politics; improving the security and rights of ordinary working people is a key part of building a country and an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

She stated that that while flexibility is an essential aspect of strengthening the UK economy, it is vital that all workers, especially those in self-employment, have their rights protected. In order to ensure this, law and regulation must be kept up to date and in line with the evolving nature of the world of work.

It's estimated that 4.8 million people in the UK are currently self-employed, and that figure is set to rise. While the laws surrounding employment and self-employment are under analysis, the route of self-employment is becoming a popular one.

By 2020, it's predicted that around half of the population will be self-employed, and there are various sources of support, help, assistance and guidance for those who opt in to take this route.

By Victoria McDonnell

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