The recent “Uber” case has led to the latest buzz word when describing an evolving way of working.
On the back of publicity surrounding the case the Government have wasted little time in deciding that it wants to police this area of the economy further and has appointed Mathew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Arts to lead a review into the impact of what Government see as a disruptive business practices employed by the likes of Uber and Deliveroo.
So what is the “Gig” economy?
Well according to the experts a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations that contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
There appears to be a number of forces behind the rise in short-term jobs not least in this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can be done from anywhere, so that job and location are less important leading to the phrase gig in relation to the capability of the mobile phone among other IT products and its influence on contact and availability.
The reality is that self-employed freelancers can select among temporary jobs and projects around the world, while engagers can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than that available in any given area.
Digitalization has also contributed directly to a decrease in jobs as software replaces some types of work and means that others take much less time. The current reality is that people tend to change jobs several times throughout their working lives; the gig economy can be seen as an evolution of that trend.
In a gig economy, businesses save resources in terms of benefits, office space and training. They also have the ability to contract with experts for specific projects who might be too high-priced to engage on a permanent basis. From the perspective of the freelancer, a gig economy can improve work-life balance over what is possible in most jobs.
Reason for the review?
There is no doubt that Government are concerned over the impact on certain workers in relation to National Minimum Wage, Auto enrolment and statutory benefits.
The more cynical amongst us will also wonder how Government feel about the potential loss to The Exchequer with the impact on PAYE and National Insurance Contributions.
So the intention of the review according to Government is to address questions of job-security, pension, holiday and parental leave rights. Furthermore the review will consider the needs of the engager in relation to its freedoms and obligations.
According to Mathew Taylor his team intends to get out and about to talk to businesses and workers across Britain to gather details of their experiences of “modern work”
From this specific recommendations will be made along with the hope that a national conversation will be had amongst businesses to explore how in this modern age “we can all contribute to work that provides opportunity, fairness and dignity”
The review will take place over the next 6 months so the expectation is that the final report and recommendations will be made public from July 2017 where there will undoubtedly follow a series of consultations on how to take the proposals from the report further.