The Taylor review of modern working practices was recently published, to mixed, but predictable comment. The Federation for small businesses has cautiously welcomed the review and the CBI has focused on the need to maintain a flexible labour market. It will, of course come as no surprise to hear that the TUC are disappointed with the review, claiming that it is a missed opportunity and should have gone much further with it’s seven key recommendations.

Full details of the review and recommendations can be found here but a brief summary is as follows:

  1. A new national strategy for work, recognising that good work should be available for all
  2. “Platform” (APP) based workers should be protected with clearer employment definitions
  3. “Dependent contractors” need greater legislative protection
  4. Good working practices needs to be encouraged for all employers
  5. Work prospects need improving
  6. Workplace health needs greater consideration
  7. People must not get “stuck” on the national living wage.

All very laudable.  And fortunately I don’t need 115 pages to summarise the conclusion for you. I can do it in 32 words:

Some modern working practices have developed that provide both employers and workers with highly flexible working arrangements. Unfortunately, this has led some employers to create one sided arrangements that exploit vulnerable workers.

The second half of which – let’s be honest, is unfair, and unsupportable. But in the report’s rush to highlight both employers responsibilities and workers rights, the authors of the report appear to have completely missed what I think, should have been at the cornerstone of the whole debate; namely, that an individual should have the Right to choose how he or she works!

  • And by all means ensure that the decision making process between the “employer” and the “worker” is equitable and not one-sided, but if central government dictates who can, or who can’t be self-employed, then we are on a slippery slope to a complete loss of the flexible workforce that has been the key success factor for the economy over the last decade.

And the irony for us in construction?

Whilst there has been a significant increase in self-employment through the debatable “GiG Economy” contracts in many other sectors of the economy, the level of self-employment in the construction industry has remained unchanged, at around 48% of the workforce, for at least the last fifteen years.

If you have any questions regarding the employment status of your tradesmen please contact us on 01245 493832 or email info@eebs.co.uk