Thursday October 21, 2021
For the road ahead

URTU Backs new Status of Workers Bill


Our Union has given its full support of a the Status of Workers Bill, which was introduced to the House of Lords in May 2021.

The draft legislation, launched by Lord John Hendy QC, will bring an end to the increasing number of working arrangements that leave millions of UK citizens unable to rely on a regular wage.

Around 1 in 9 people in employment are in insecure work, defined as ‘jobs with no guaranteed salary'. These individuals are often ‘gig' workers, employed on zero-hour contracts or hired through agencies.The UK's unusually complex labour law means that these workers have a different employment status that exempts them from the basic rights many people take for granted, such as the right to sick pay, paid parental leave, and to take their employer to court if they are unfairly dismissed.

The Current Situation
Currently, workers fall into a variety of legal categories, each with different entitlement to rights. 

  • At the top of the tree of rights are those defined as ‘employees'.
  • Then there are the ‘limb (b) workers' who are not employees and have lesser rights.
  • Next there are the ‘false self-employed' - who are in reality employees, but who are tricked by their employers into paying their own tax and National Insurance whilst being offered no employment rights.
  • Then there are those employed by a ‘personal service company' - a company owned by the worker (but usually set up by the employer) which employs the worker and which has a commercial contract with the employer. Such workers technically have full employment rights but can only enforce them against their own company.Finally, there are the genuinely self-employed - individuals in business on their own account with their own clients or customers.

The human cost of insecure work had been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic.It has brutally exposed the terrible working conditions and insecurity that is the daily reality for many key workers, including URTU members.



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