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NEWS: ‘Legitimate firms want level playing field’, Taylor tells MPs

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The independent review of modern working practices contains ‘relatively straightforward reforms that would make a difference’, its author Matthew Taylor told MPs at an inquiry.


The Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry held on 12 October probed Taylor on his report and asked how far recommendations required legislative reform.

Mr Taylor said that although ‘a number of things can be done without new legislation’ current laws needed to be clearer.

Workers should be given “terms of their status, take home pay, in plain English on day one of their employment”, he offered. He criticised ‘opaque’ contracts from employers that leave workers unsure of their rights.

He said he was “delighted by the Supreme Court ruling overturning Tribunal fees” but that the “law should do more and the courts should do less”.

 “I think what legitimate businesses want is a level playing field – I think [even Uber and Hermes] would say if worker status is what has to happen we can cope as long as that applies to our competitors.

“We want businesses to thrive, but not because they are circumventing the rules.”

Matthew Taylor has called for better laws to protect gig workers. Photograph: iStock / Teamjackson

Taylor was responding to an MP who said firms expected employees to go to Tribunal if they wished to claim worker status. They would not apply one judgment to all workers.

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, committee chair, said he was “delighted” with Taylor’s calls to “strengthen workers’ hand against abusive employers”.

“Matthew Taylor said that the better the law is, the less the protection of workers will be left to wrangling by lawyers.

“I hope the Prime Minister will find time in this Parliament to allow our select committees to pass legislation that will ensure workers get the rights and pay they have earned,” he said.

But Field threw out other suggestions that forcing firms to pay a higher national minimum wage for hours not guaranteed should be used as a means to clamp down on zero hours.

“The select committees disagreed with Mr Taylor on any proposal that might fracture the universality of the National Living Wage: there is no appetite or support on either select committee for his proposals on this front,” he said.

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