Responding to leaked reports of the final Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, Thompsons Solicitors’ chief executive Stephen Cavalier has said that the report’s recommendations are “feeble and add another layer of unnecessary complexity”.

Mr Cavalier has commented that: “The creation of a new ‘dependent contractor’ status for gig economy workers would further complicate existing categories of how workers are defined in law. What is needed is one category which affords all workers all employment rights from day one of their contracts starting.

“This new status is unclear and unnecessary. Recent Employment Tribunal rulings have required prominent gig economy employers to pay their workers basic benefits, like sick pay and holiday leave, and the national living wage. What is needed is for these rights and responsibilities to be clearly set out in legislation.

“Companies have used the existing legislation to avoid their obligations by exploiting grey areas in the law. The leaked report is disappointing. It suggests the government will not take strong action, but simply leave it to those same firms to deliver improvements in corporate culture and employment rights. Experience shows that this will not happen. 

“Of particular concern is the absence of a ban on zero-hours contracts. These contracts can and should be banned - just like they have been in New Zealand with no detriment to a worker’s flexibility. There is no excuse for employers passing on all risks to workers.

"We await the final version of the report, but are pessimistic. The Taylor Review may turn out to be a huge missed opportunity to correct systemic unfairness for insecure workers and the deep-seated inequality in power between the worker and their employer."

Stephen Cavalier
chief executive of Thompsons Solicitors

“The likes of Uber and Deliveroo argue that they cannot pay the minimum wage like any other employer, and with the review’s recommendation that a model - based on the number of ‘gigs’ an average person working at an average rate can achieve - is used to calculate pay, it is inevitable that some will fall through the gap and actually end up with less. This weak new category is not the solution.

“Workers need proper rights. Employers need to know where they stand. There should be one category of worker. All employment rights should be extended to all workers. And a person who provides personal service to an employer should be treated as a worker, unless the employer can prove that the individual is in fact providing the service as a business. The burden of proof should be on the employer.

“We await the final version of the report, but are pessimistic. The Taylor Review may turn out to be a huge missed opportunity to correct systemic unfairness for insecure workers and the deep-seated inequality in power between the worker and their employer.

The take-away from this report is that the offering delivered by Matthew Taylor is a dog’s dinner and certainly not what workers ordered”.