UK: Employment status: New guidance
The response confirms that the government will not proceed with any legislative reform around employment status at this stage. It has however published new guidance which the government believes, together with existing case law, will help provide clarity on how to approach employment status issues.
The new guidance consists of:
- Employment status and employment rights: guidance for HR professionals, legal professionals and other groups – this detailed guidance sets out the differences between employees, workers and self-employed individuals as well as the key factors in determining employment status
- Employment status and rights: support for individuals – this is a summary of the above guidance and also sets out how individuals can challenge their employment status
- Employment status and rights: checklist for employers – this guidance is along similar lines, but aimed at employers and others that engage individuals
On a separate but connected topic, the Future of Work review 2022 is expected to produce a written report to guide long term, strategic policy making on the labour market. It would appear that the review will explore key policy questions such as the role of automation and how the “good” flexibility in the labour market and the gig economy can encourage productivity and growth.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
It seems that the impact of the pandemic and the growing economic crisis mean that legislative change to employment status tests is not a priority for the government. In addition, although it recognises that there may be benefits in aligning the frameworks for assessing tax and employment rights, it has decided that now is not the right time to do this.
The government has also updated its calculating the minimum wage guidance, to include a new section on the gig economy and platform-based workers.