It’s been almost impossible not to hear about the Taylor Review on the news over the last week or so – since it was published on 11th July after a nine-month process. But what is it all about and why should it concern contractors? We decided to investigate a little more . . .
What did the government ask for?
Matthew Taylor, who is Head of the Review, phrased it like this – “The Prime Minister has asked me to lead an independent review into how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models.” So basically it’s looking at things like home and remote workers, the ‘gig economy’ and the rise of a more flexible working environment – all things which contractors and freelancers have known about for years.
The final report is over 100 pages long and offers a number of recommendations on all sorts of subjects. Generally, the feeling is that UK laws need to be updated in light of the changes in the employment world so that people who don’t have a typical 9 to 5 job are not penalised in any way.
What topics are covered?
The three main areas of the report cover employment status, tax and zero hours workers. The main recommendation is that new legislation is needed around the definition of different types of worker status – including the self-employed. Beyond this, tax needs to be made more consistent for all workers, and the whole zero-hours contract issue needs sorting out.
One of the key areas which came to light was the definition of something known as a ‘dependent contractor’ – helping to define workers who operate on a more casual basis and giving them more rights – such as holiday pay, and sick pay. Workers will have to be defined by a form of test which determines their status, and this side of things is still being worked out. There are also references to some IR35-type issues such as whether these workers can send a substitute, and how much ‘control’ they should be given. It’s a start, but it seems there is far more clarification still to be done.