The Gig Economy Hub
Welcome to our gig economy hub page for the latest information, articles, case law updates and research on the gig economy and related employment law issues.
Rise of Self-Employment
The level of self-employment in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015, with the biggest growth coming in part-time self-employed work (1). But there is very little data currently available about the size of the gig economy.
Employment Tribunal Claims and the Gig Economy
In early 2017 the Court of Appeal will release its Judgment in the Pimlico Plumbers Ltd & Anor v Smith case. The Employment Appeal Tribunal Judgement upheld the employment tribunal’s decision that Smith was not an employee a worker (with worker employment rights).
The Taylor Review
On 1 October 2016 the Government announced the launch of an independent ‘Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy’ – the Taylor Review. The terms of reference include the following question:
“Do current definitions of employment status need to be updated to reflect new forms of working created by emerging business models, such as on-demand platforms?”
Employment Lawyer Diane Nicol (Partner at Pinsent Mason) is one of the experts appointed to the Taylor Review panel.
The much awaited report was published 11 July 2017. It’s covered a wide array of matters, from the gig economy, worker status, employee well-being, alignment of tax and employment regulation and the value of a flexible workforce. On of the main ideas was a new employment status called ‘dependent contractor’. The Government’s response is awaited.
Impact on Tax and the Treasury
It has been widely reported that the gig economy is starting to hit the Government revenue.
In November 2016 The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published a report estimating that in 2020/21 the gig economy will cost the Treasury £3.5bn. Shortly after the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published a focus paper on the ‘Gig’ economy and tax.
The OTS paper observes:
“In recent years the gig economy has been used to describe where individuals might interact with a tech platform to get work that is local or offline. There is, however, a subset of the gig economy, the ‘online’ gig or ‘on-demand’ economy, where businesses and workers are increasingly using online platforms to engage in project or task based freelance work delivered over the internet, otherwise known as crowd or cloud labour or ‘click work’.