In late-2016, the Government appointed Matthew Taylor to conduct a Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy.
His remit is to consider six key broad themes: (a) new business models; (b) the balance of rights and responsibilities; (c) security, pay and rights; (d) opportunities for under-represented groups; (e) representation; and (f) progression and training.
Following on from our submission to the BEIS Inquiry on the Future World of Work and Rights of Workers in December 2016, Taylor Vinters has maintained its profile as a thought leader on this important topic by preparing written submissions to the Taylor Review.
Our paper is available to read in full here.
We consider that within the UK, our ability to innovate and adapt is one of our greatest strengths. What is essential to the future world of work is also having the ability to build businesses, create jobs and generate wealth in ways that are both fit for purpose and flexible to meet the opportunities both on and over the immediate horizon. Access to a well-educated, highly skilled, motivated and engaged, productive workforce is essential – it is not just a wish-list. The competition for talent is already global.
With this in mind, we summarised our conclusions as follows:
1. The Taylor Review is an opportunity for fresh thinking – not just tinkering around the edges of the existing legislative framework. The focus should be on a future world of work that will build businesses, create jobs and generate wealth.
2. Workers’ rights and innovative business models are not mutually exclusive.
3. Exploitation and abuse can be stamped out by appropriate regulation and enforcement.
4. Creating a workforce educated in the STEM subjects will be critical where human work will need to add value to that performed by artificial intelligence. The ‘employability’ skills of the human workforce are a key concern for businesses.
5. There needs to be a recalibration of the categories of ‘worker’, ‘employee’ and ‘self-employed’ to fit a service-driven, labour-on-demand economy. Consistent with our proposals to the BEIS Inquiry, we have taken the opportunity afforded by the Taylor Review to develop a potential solution that will provide a flexible framework in which innovation can flourish, while protecting the most vulnerable workers.
6. We need to develop a system that will cater not only for new business models that are emerging today, but for those that may be introduced in the future. There is limited value in having a specific legal definition of ‘gig economy worker’, if that concept becomes outdated as businesses develop ever more innovative models of engagement.
7. There are opportunities to create new forms of representative bodies that are relevant to the new forms of workforce that are emerging.
8. The demand from businesses for greater flexibility creates opportunities for better inter-generational fairness and for wider engagement in the workplace of minority groups.
9. Government can support a diverse ecology of business models with a lighter-touch legislative framework in which entrepreneurial businesses – and those working within them – can flourish and thrive.
10. Finally, although outside the immediate scope of this Review, there needs to be a levelling of the playing field in the way in which work is taxed.