Matthew Taylor, former head of Blair’s Number 10 Policy Unit, is due to publish a report on the gig economy this summer. A number of themes have emerged from his interviews and discussions with the press to date.
His report will look at the following issues:
- Security, pay and rights
- Progression and training
- Balance of rights and responsibility
- Opportunities for under-represented groups
- New business models
The report will emphasise that it is not just quantity of work that matters but also the quality of work. Mr Taylor wants to ensure there are greater opportunities for progression and fulfilment in the self-employed and worker economy. He wants to strengthen employee voice in the workplace.
His research will recognise that employers want clearer rules on how to determine self-employed, worker and employee status. To that end, it is likely to foreground the idea of the “dependent contractor” (a term currently used in Canadian law) as an indicator of worker status.
His investigations look into a diversity of self-employment roles, and will take account of differences between, for example, the construction and healthcare industries.
Finally the report will also disclose the extent to which tax treatment and social security rights are a big influence on employment trends. We can assume that Matthew Taylor saw the now cancelled tax reforms to self-employed workers as a step in the right direction. Although he cannot make recommendations on tax, he is likely to want to nudge tax treatment in an employee-friendly direction as well as recommend a strengthening of pension entitlements for those working in the gig economy.