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New legislation aims to protect 'gig economy' workers

17 December 2018

Clarity of the rights of those employed on zero-hour contracts will need to be made clear from the first day of their employment, following the introduction of new legislation.

This follows continuing discussions on how UK companies treat workers employed within the 'gig economy', many of whom serve the FM industry.

Staff on zero-hours contracts will now need to be informed of their eligibility for paid and sick leave, as well as having the right to request predictable working hours, according to the BBC News report.

The legislation was introduced after a review by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, who was also an aide to former prime minister Tony Blair.

As a result, the new laws aim to prevent agency staff being paid less than permanent employees.

Employers will also be liable to increased tribunal fines of up to £20,000 if found to be guilty of "malice, spite or gross oversight".

Holiday will additionally need to be calculated on 52 weeks, rather than 12, to enable those in "seasonal or atypical roles" to receive appropriate amounts of time off.

One of the results of the Taylor review was the statement that the banning of zero-hour contracts would have a negative impact on more people than it helped.

Although welcomed by the CBI, its chief UK policy director Matthew Fell said the new legislation "risks making the law less able to adapt to new forms of work in the future".

Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O'Grady said providing workers with the right to ask for guaranteed hours "is no right at all", and that workers' unions should be allowed to bargain for staff "in places like Uber and Amazon".

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