Following Matthew Taylor’s appointment by Theresa May to look at whether employment regulations need to change to keep pace with flexible working practices FCSA is urging the review to look at the employment practices of some employers.
Whilst FCSA welcomes any opportunity to clarify valid working practices and stamp out unethical practices, the UK’s largest independent trade body whose members provide professional support services to freelancers and contractors argues that it is not self-employment, zero hours or temporary contracts that need reviewing but the bad practices of some employers. In fact, when it comes to self-employment, a BIS report out earlier in the year stated that less than 10% of self-employed workers are considering changing the way they work in the coming year, suggesting that 90% are happy with their self-employed status.
Nevertheless, FCSA believes that the review is a good opportunity to draw attention to ill-thought through plans for IR35 reforms affecting contractors in the public sector. The review is tasked with looking at security, pay and rights however most professionals choosing self-employment do so to work for themselves rather than as permanent employees, they are not seeking security and rights as they prefer to be engaged in a non-permanent manner.
Commenting on the latest review Julia Kermode, Chief Executive of the FCSA said: “The problem doesn’t lie in how people are engaged, the problem lies in how they are treated. I would suggest that the review focuses on educating employers to treat their workforces properly, whatever their status, so that exploitation cannot happen, as in the recent case of Sports Direct. We are concerned about media reports where self-employed couriers allege that they are earning below the national minimum wage; whilst this is unacceptable such cases do not indicate a problem with self-employment per se, but a problem with employers shirking their responsibilities in providing basic rights. The Government already has a cross-departmental team in place looking at employment status issues and there have been a number of reviews in recent years so we hope that Mr Taylor will take a different approach and focus on employers treating their workforce appropriately.
“Over the last ten years, we have seen a massive economic shift in working practices and choices. Businesses are employing fewer permanent staff and people are shunning permanent employment for more flexible contingent working and they should be treated fairly and respectfully. The Government needs to focus on making that happen.”