According to some, the definition of the ‘gig’ economy is;
“a labour market characterised by the occurrence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs”.
In this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can be done from anywhere, so that job and location are decoupled and instead of a regular wage, people get paid for the “gigs” they do, such as food delivery or taxi driving.
There has been a lot of negative publicity recently over this – so what is the problem?
People who have worked and continue to work in this area are saying they feel exploited by companies and feel ‘controlled’ by them for example having to wear specific uniforms, working only when the company has jobs to hand out meaning that the individual doesn’t receive any payment for ‘down time’ and there is no minimum hourly rate. However, supporters of the gig economy claim that people can benefit from flexible hours, with control over how much time they can work as they juggle other priorities in their lives.
Recent cases such as Uber, Deliveroo and Pimlico Plumbers have had rulings against them to say that the people working for them are considered to be workers rather than being self-employed.
Are you a worker or self-employed?
Individuals in the gig economy are classed as independent contractors (self-employed), which means that they have no protection against unfair dismissal, no right to redundancy payments and no right to receive the national minimum wage, paid holiday or sickness pay. However, a worker does have some rights and for this they would follow Company rules and guidelines, be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage. People who are classed as ‘workers’ tend to be agency staff or those on zero hours contracts. So, are you an independent contractor or a worker??
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