Employment status – another Government review
Following the review of the use of zero-hours contracts in the workplace, the Government earlier this week launched a review of employment status. As you will be aware, an individual’s “employment status” determines what, if any, employment rights they are entitled to. “Employees” enjoy the greatest number of rights whilst “workers” have far fewer rights and “self-employed” individuals almost none. There are a number of tests which can be applied to determine one’s employment status but no one is determinative and the area of law has become increasingly complex. The aim of the review is to determine “how clear the current employment framework is” (erm not very!); to look at the options to extend some employment rights to more people and whether there is “scope to streamline this very complex area of employment law”.
It is anticipated that interim findings will be presented before the end of the year and recommendations made by March 2015. Without prejudging the review, a number of outcomes have been identified which include: a potential extension of employment rights (with possibly an extension of all employment rights to “workers”); greater transparency and clarity (leading to less confusion over rights); and additional job stability (reducing the risks that zero-hours contracts and agency workers are used to avoid employment responsibilities).
Given that there are often question marks over an individual’s employment status and it is often only when a matter ends up in Tribunal that this is clarified, this review is to be welcomed.