27 November 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems to give gig workers 20% increase to minimum wage and greater protections

A Liberal Democrats Government would increase the minimum wage by 20 per cent for zero-hour contract employees and introduce a raft of policies to create a working environment that protects employees.

The new, higher minimum wage for those on zero-hours contracts will seek to compensate workers for the uncertainty of fluctuating incomes.

As part of their plan for the future of work, the Liberal Democrats will also promise to establish a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status for workers tied to one employer, which enshrines rights such as minimum earnings, sick pay and holiday entitlement.

The party will also give workers the right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months, which could not be unreasonably refused.

Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary, said:

The Tories are gambling with our economic future which would make workers in the gig economy vulnerable to the consequences of a damaging and destructive Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats, as the natural party of business, will improve pay and enshrine rights and protections for gig workers.

The Liberal Democrats will create a brighter future for those who do so much to support how we live our lives today, while making sure innovative business models can flourish in the modern economy.

The Liberal Democrats will also review tax and national insurance status of employees, dependent contractors and freelancers, and review pensions rules to make sure those in the gig economy don’t lose out compared with workers in other sectors and other employment statuses. They have also pledged to strengthen the ability of unions to represent workers effectively, including a right of access to workplaces.

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  • An interesting idea, I have done contract work in the distant past when you could be fired on a week’s notice and had no holidays etc but it suited me as you made nearly twice the regular salary and I was quite happy to lounge around for a few months when no work was available (also less tax and nI if done via company). Does lock you out of mortgages and many finance options. If I was a young lad and full of energy I would probably go for zero hours stuff, albeit with several different job options to juggle and some fallback self-employed work plus a few internet businesses… I think if you have a bit of intelligence and energy you can make it work for you, with many more possibilities than in the distant past. Post Brexit, this kind of super flexibility will be needed more not less… but yes is does need to have a much higher hourly rate than regular work to reflect the risk involved.

  • Peter Martin 27th Nov '19 - 9:11am

    @ Frank West,

    “I would probably go for zero hours stuff, albeit with several different job options…..”

    I don’t think you fully understand that employers expect ZHC workers to be available when they want them but don’t need to pay them when they don’t. Workers can’t be in two places at the same time!

    If you aren’t going to outlaw the practice of ZHCs, a useful reform would be to remove any requirement that ZHC workers have to be effectively ‘on call’ for the duration of the working week.

  • I am aware of the requirements of some zero hour jobs, however nothing to stop you working for Amazon on such a contract and then using your car when you are not wanted as a Uber driver – there are endless ways you could interweave several different income streams but do agree for someone of my age (64) it would all be an endless hassle and probably shorten my life BUT such jobs should not be seen as a long term employment option but means to get some money out of the system whilst waiting for something better to turn up or to plug into exponential profit self employment opportunities that are available today, thanks to the Web and Tech. It takes a certain mindset to get the best of the situation rather than be ground down by it, admittedly.

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