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The Taylor Review: is it time to change the definition of ‘worker’?

A nine month review into the world of work has been announced, which will hope to set out new employment rights for workers in the gig economy.

Tony Blair’s former policy chief, Matthew Taylor, has called on the Government to close a legal loophole which allows agencies such as Uber and Deliveroo to pay gig economy workers less than direct employees doing the same jobs.

The report recommends the Government rewrites key elements of employment law so any gig economy worker has the right to extended holiday and sick pay and, in most cases, receive the minimum wage, with the addition of paternity and maternity pay to the self-employed.

Mr Taylor told the BBC: “There are too many people not having their rights fully respected.
There are too many people at work who are treated like cogs in the machine rather than being human beings, and there are too many people who don’t see a route from their current job to progress and earn more and do better.”

Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, was disappointed with the review claiming it doesn’t offer security for the 4.5 million in insecure work.

She told the BBC: “If it looks like a job or it smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed, and I think in those situations where a worker is carrying out work on behalf of an employer… they should not be exploited as a flexible worker”.

Alan Lewis, Principal Lawyer and Head of Employment at Linder Myers comments:

“The fundamental employment protection right that is missing from the review’s recommendations is the right to protection from unfair dismissal, or a similar right specific for “dependant contractors”.

“This right to unfair dismissal is only available to “employees”, but most employment lawyers will be acutely aware that many employers use zero hours contracts and self-employment agreements to disguise what in reality are employment relationships, with the main intention of avoiding protection from unfair dismissal. Indeed the very term “dependant contractor” used by Taylor denotes a worker who is reliant on a continued employment relationship to earn a living. There has been much comment about job insecurity in the gig economy and, as long as employers can dismiss workers without facing unfair dismissal claims, such insecurity will continue.”

Should you be seeking advice on your employment rights as a casual, zero hours or ‘gig’ worker, please do not hesitate to contact Alan Lewis of our Employment Department on 0161 837 6807, or email us on

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