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The UK Government is working to slowly implement the ideas set out in its Good Work Plan issued in December 2108 on the protection of workers in the gig economy and others with non-typical working arrangements. There are new laws in place as from this month on the contents of payslips. Further legislation is coming into force in April 2020 around such areas as an entitlement for those falling into the statutory category of “worker” to receive a written statement of terms, and for the reference period
for calculating statutory holiday pay to move from 12 to 52 weeks.

Consultation on other areas is continuing and we do not know exactly when legislation will be forthcoming. These areas include entitling people with zero hours contracts to demand more predictable working arrangements after 12 months and (perhaps most importantly for business) the new statutory test for determining employment status. We seem to be a long way off determining what that test will be.

The UK is of course not the only country struggling to adapt its employment framework to the advent of the gig economy and more flexible working structures and patterns. For example, the status of cab drivers has been the subject of widely publicised litigation in France, Australia and the USA as well as in the UK.

Now, the European Parliament has passed a resolution on new rules protecting vulnerable and gig economy workers in the EU. The UK will almost certainly not be bound by those rules which will not come into effect for at least three years. It is however instructive to look at those rules to see what steps other countries will be taking to meet these new challenges, and to consider what lessons there
might be for future UK legislation.

The first point to note in relation to these rules is that there is an overlap with existing UK legislation or laws being introduced under the Good Work Plan. An example here is a new EU requirement to issue a statement of terms to anyone who is not self-employed within seven days of the commencement of the contract. That statement must set out the number of guaranteed paid hours.