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The gig economy and workers’ rights

As flexible business models become more widespread, the law needs to be simplified to provide easier ways to determine the working status of an individual, says Chris Cook

2 March 2017

The term ‘gig economy’ has recently been a hot topic of debate in both the legal and political worlds. There has been a rise in cases evolving out of the flexible business models adopted by it, including claims against Uber, CitySprint, and Deliveroo. The gig economy seemingly allows businesses to hire individuals on a flexible basis which avoids entitlement to certain benefits. However, following the decisions in these high-profile cases, it seems possible that 2017 could be the year the balance of employment rights tips in favour of the worker.

A person’s employment status does not always reflect exactly what it says in the written agreement. Contractual documentation stating an individual to be self-employed will not avoid the risk of the individual claiming worker status. Courts are aware of the inequality of bargaining power faced by individuals in these circumstances and the decisions in these case...

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