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News

10th January 2017

 

A clear definition of ‘worker’ would help protect employment rights for millions

Thompsons Solicitors responds to House of Commons inquiry

In October, the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee launched an inquiry into the future world of work and the rights of workers.

Responding to this inquiry, Thompsons Solicitors argued that more needs to be done to protect and enhance the employment rights of all British workers, including those who work under non-standard contracts, such as zero hours contracts or where their employment status is unclear such as workers wrongly treated as self-employed.

According to Thompsons, the government in recent years has encouraged job insecurity and is yielding to pressures to strip away basic working rights. These trends have been compounded by more complexity and variety in the relationships between employer and worker.

Rakesh Patel, Head of Employment Rights Strategy at Thompsons, said that: “The injustices suffered by working people, and those who want to work, as a result of the increasing use of non-standard employment relationships and bogus self-employment are clear. They deserve a robust employment relationship that cannot be easily exploited, and should be granted effective, legally-enforced working rights.

“Unfortunately, the use of the term ‘worker’ is very loosely defined in employment law and the distinction between a ‘worker’ and an ‘employee’ leads to a vastly different set of employment rights being available to them.

“Types of workers which may be currently missing out include casual workers and freelancers, agency workers, home workers and workers on zero-hours contracts.

“A new, single definition of ‘worker’ would stop the further development of a second-class system and ensure everyone who is under a contract of employment to perform any work or service for another person should enjoy the same protections.

“It is important that the government takes seriously the need to have equality of protections for all workers, particularly as employment relationships continue to become more flexible.”

You can find Thompsons’ full response to the inquiry here.