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Bid to boost pay levels in gig economy.

Byline: TORCUIL CRICHTON

THOUSANDS of selfemployed workers in the "gig economy" should have the same wage protections as full-time staff, a report has urged.

It calls on Theresa May's Government to extend minimum wage protection to some of the UK's 4.8million self-employed to tackle low pay and insecurity.

The report, from the Resolution Foundation think tank, estimates 170,000 self-employed workers in taxi operations and 40,000 postal and courier service workers could benefit.

So could some of the 150,000 self-employed hairdressers in the UK and 80,000 cleaners.

The introduction of the so-called National Living Wage , PS7.50 an hour for over-25s, will combat low pay. But the self-employed are not entitled to it.

The Foundation say that there is a big risk that unless low-pay protection rules are changed, firms could use self-employed contracts as a way to avoid paying the legal minimum wage.

Conor D'Arcy, of Resolution Foundation, said: "The UK's labour market has been very successful at creating jobs in recent years. However, far too many of those jobs offer very low pay and precious little security.

"This is especially true of the growing army of the self-employed. While many are higher earners who benefit from significant flexibility, around half fall below the low pay earnings threshold of just PS310 a week.

"The Government can start by extending minimum wage protections to those selfemployed people whose prices are set by a firm.

"This would mean that self-employed people in the gig economy would be given protection against extreme low pay for the first time ever."

The report, entitled The Minimum Required, forms part of the Resolution Foundation's submission to the Taylor Review on employment practices.

It shows that while one in five employees were low-paid (on less than two-thirds of typical weekly earnings) last year, about half of the full-time self-employed workforce fell below the threshold.

If the existing law were enforced, many of those in the gig economy should be deemed workers, an employment status with greater rights than the self-employed, meaning they should already receive at least the minimum wage.

Better enforcement is needed to ensure these workers get the rights to which they are entitled, says the report.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 4, 2017
Words:367
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