IPSE calls for statutory definition of self-employment

Wednesday 12 July 2017

A statutory definition of self-employment needs to be issued by the government, according to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

IPSE believes such action is required in response to Deliveroo’s submission to the Taylor review on modern employment practices, which is expected to be announced in the next few days. 

Last week, Deliveroo’s chief executive officer Will Shu said the company will pay sickness and injury benefits to its UK staff if the law is altered, but current rules prevent the firm from doing so. 

His statements have sparked discussion in the industry and IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce has warned that any changes need to be properly considered. 

Mr Bryce said: “Deliveroo’s suggestion that riders be given additional rights could be examined in terms of creating a wider worker employment status. 

“However, IPSE is clear we do not want changes to the treatment of self-employed people that would threaten their inherent flexibility.”

Mr Bryce went on to say that the government to adopt a statutory definition of small employment to differentiate between those who do and do not work for themselves.

He added that self-employment means being in control of when and how you work, as well as choosing who your clients and customers are. 

Calls for a statutory definition have grown louder due to the rising number of people working for themselves. 

Mr Bryce explained that, while self-employment can be difficult and does not suit everyone, increasing numbers of professionals are making the decision to work for themselves. 

Partially thanks to the rising popularity of independent work, the number of self-employed staff across the UK has jumped to more than 4.8 million. 

However, Mr Bryce suggested that any new recommendations need to be made with the wider market in mind, as millions of specialists already thrive in the sector. 

In a bid to understand this growth, the Taylor Review was commissioned by Theresa May after she became Prime Minister in the summer of 2016. 

It hopes to provide clarity on modern employment practices and understand the needs of self-employed staff across the country. 

The key themes covered by the review include, pay and rights, progression, training, representation and new business models. Sick pay in particular is a key area of interest, with many freelancers and contractors calling for more security.

Regulation such as IR35 will be another vital talking point, as the industry seeks more support from the government. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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