Freelance group backs PM's employment review

A trade body representing service providers to freelance professionals is backing the prime minister’s review of modern employment practices; albeit not unreservedly.

The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association says that while it welcomes the opportunity to highlight “ill-thought through” plans on IR35, it does not want the review to be more of the same.

“The government already has a cross-departmental team in place looking at employment status issues and there have been a number of reviews in recent years.

“We hope that Mr [Matthew] Taylor [who is leading the review] will take a different approach,” says FCSA’s chief executive Julia Kermode.

That approach should be employer-led, whereby Mr Taylor and his team explore how modern employment practices -- the review’s focus -- are being carried out by various employers.

“Any opportunity to clarify valid working practices and stamp out unethical practices [should be taken],” added Ms Kermode. “Educating employers to treat their workforces properly, whatever their status” should be the aim.

As to what the review should resist, she urged the team not to regard isolated cases concerning pay complaints from freelance couriers or alleged exploitation at Sports Direct as reflective of self-employment overall.

The FCSA said: “Such cases do not indicate a problem with self-employment per se, but a problem with employers shirking their responsibilities in providing basic rights.”


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