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Although the IPSE has very much welcomed Labour’s effort to create a single ‘worker’ status, it believes that it fails to ‘grasp the nettle of employment status’.

The aim of Labour’s proposal is to replace the three existing employment categories: employee, worker and dependent contractor, with the category encompassing all but the genuinely self-employed.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), commented, “It’s very welcome that Labour is trying to tackle the confusion around worker rights, but these plans fail to grasp the nettle of employment status. And without more clarity on this issue, they risk seriously undermining the 4.2 million-strong self-employed sector.

“While it is absolutely right to try and clear the confusion in parts of the labour market such as the gig economy and secure rights for falsely self-employed people, it is essential to engage with the question of what exactly makes someone self-employed. Without this, structural change could threaten the freedom, flexibility and livelihoods of genuine freelancers.”

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Chamberlain added, “Instead of attempting to roll all employment statuses into one, we propose clarifying the existing statuses. Because right now, while there are statutory definitions of employee and worker status, there is still no legal definition of self-employed status. Creating a statutory definition of self-employed status would both secure rights for falsely self-employed people and also protect the freedom of genuine freelancers.

“We are pleased Labour is grappling with these issues, but we do not believe this solution cuts to the heart of the matter. We are keen to work with the party to develop solutions that would empower falsely self-employed workers, but we must also protect the flexibility of genuine freelancers, which is of great benefit to the UK.”

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