More must be done to clarify workers’ rights in gig economy | Letters

The changes proposed in employment law (Gig economy workers’ anger as review fails to change law, 7 February) do not really go far enough, but a start is welcome. As with all these things, they come about because of abuses, not because someone decided to propose a nice piece of law. For my part I’d be grateful if some employers would simply comply with current legislation and stop sacking pregnant women. I know that means less work at my end, but it would also mean an end to the disgraceful treatment that I still encounter.

Patrick McNamee

Hadfield & Co Solicitors, Welling, Kent

The government’s response to Matthew Taylor’s report on the gig economy last July appears to be reasonable so far as it goes, but enforcing any rights will be difficult in the absence of legal aid. And whatever happened to the prime minister’s proposal to require employee representation on company boards?

Jeremy Beecham

Labour, House of Lords

Both the government and Matthew Taylor have rightly recognised that flexibility and fairness are important aspects of a successful UK labour market which works for everyone. We agree that modern employment law should keep pace with innovation and technology – helping enhance the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world for sharing-economy platforms to thrive and bring benefits for all users.

Firms welcome the government’s plan to develop a definition of “working time” that is suitable for people finding work through platforms via a smartphone app or online. Many people hugely value the flexibility that platforms provide and have been able to participate in the employment market for the first time. Greater clarity on knowing when they are to be paid will help individuals make informed choices.

Richard Laughton

UK chair, Sharing Economy and CEO of easyCar

Your report on the tragic death of the DPD delivery driver Don Lane (Government urged to act over DPD driver’s death, 6 February) observes that “the company made more than £100m in profit last year … but does not provide sick pay or paid holiday”. Surely that should be “and does not provide sick pay or paid holiday”. It is precisely this business model of pushing all the risk on to “workers” (however defined) which enables such companies to make these excessive profits, and is why so many of the employment tribunal claims disputing employee status have been so hard fought by big business.

Christine Peacock


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