MPs have put forward plans to close many of the loopholes in the law that have allowed the gig economy to flourish.
The proposals come in a draft bill put together by two House of Commons committees: Work and Pensions, and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
“Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce but currently all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers. This must change,” said Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
“Recent cases demonstrate a need for greater clarity in the law to protect workers. Responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses. We need new laws but also much tougher enforcement, to weed out those businesses seeking to exploit complex labour laws, and workers, for their competitive advantage,” said Reeves.
The MPs want the government to implement a ‘worker by default’ model putting the onus on companies to demonstrate the self-employed status of those working for them.
Other proposals include increased enforcement, as well as higher penalties at employment tribunals if an employer has already lost a similar case, and enabling the use of class actions in disputes over wages, status and working time.
“The two Committees are today presenting the Prime Minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft Bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy,” said Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee.