Work and pensions committee says employers force workers into bogus self-employment and free-ride on welfare state.
Companies in Britain’s growing gig economy are forcing workers into bogus self-employment and free-riding on the welfare state, an influential committee of MPs has said.
In a damning assessment of modern employment practices, the parliamentary work and pensions committee calls on the next government to bring laws up to date so that workers are better protected from exploitation. Given concerns about the rising number of workers classed as self-employed contractors with no access to sick benefit or holiday pay, it wants the default status for people in the gig economy to be “worker” rather than “self-employed”.
In an inquiry now curtailed by Theresa May calling a snap election, the committee questioned companies including Uber, Amazon, Hermes and Deliveroo that use self-employed workers widely. It also heard from their drivers.
An abridged report into the committee’s findings on Monday accuses companies of propagating a myth around self-employment and rebuffs their claims to be providing flexibility for workers.
The committee, led by the Labour MP Frank Field, criticised such arguments as fiction. It also highlighted that forcing people into self-employment as couriers, taxi drivers and other roles, rather than taking them on as employees, was depriving the state of badly needed tax revenues and creating an extra burden on the welfare system.