Gig economy workers and Zero hours contracts


  • The slowing down in the rate of increase doesn't mean anything. Zero hours contracts are a scandal and should be banned. They and the gig economy are simply used to disguise the true number of unemployed and exaggerate the number of ' new business start ups.'


    They are not an option for hundreds of thousands of people who have to rely on tax credits and housing benefit to survive. The surplus of labour caused by mass immigration is the main reason employers can use them to pay minimum wages and avoid their responsibilities such as maternity leave to their employees .

  • Where I currently work they always used to have zero hours contracts for the workshop staff, now they hire contractors. The guys were better off before - they had sick pay, pension contributions, holiday, the firm looked after their tax/NI contributions and they had a notice period. Now that is all gone - half the blokes are happy though because they are not declaring their income. To me the only ones who have gained by dropping zero hours contracts are the company themselves. People seem to forget what the alternative to zero hours contracts is - rarely is it a steady 38 hour contract, unless those are the hours the employees are working anyway and in that case there is legally no difference.


    In the restaurant business Deliveroo provide a great solution - they handle deliveries. Previously a restaurant/takeaway would need to hire a driver for the night - if things got quiet they lost money and if things got too busy for one bloke they lost sales or pissed off customers by being late. Given the casual nature of the job sometimes the driver wouldn't turn up or would leave with no notice so due to all that many places didn't bother with deliveries. Deliveroo solves all that and has increased sales for many restaurants with an associated boost to the economy.


    Employee regulations need to be very carefully applied. There's little point improving conditions only for there to be no jobs available any more. It's like selling a product that no one can afford.

  • The slowing down in the rate of increase doesn't mean anything. Zero hours contracts are a scandal and should be banned. They and the gig economy are simply used to disguise the true number of unemployed and exaggerate the number of ' new business start ups.'


    They are not an option for hundreds of thousands of people who have to rely on tax credits and housing benefit to survive. The surplus of labour caused by mass immigration is the main reason employers can use them to pay minimum wages and avoid their responsibilities such as maternity leave to their employees .

    While I agree with your last sentence, I don't reckon its anything by the Government to mask figures, how can it be?


    It's not the government masking figures, but companies. The people are employed, just on terrible terms.

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  • Where I currently work they always used to have zero hours contracts for the workshop staff, now they hire contractors. The guys were better off before - they had sick pay, pension contributions, holiday, the firm looked after their tax/NI contributions and they had a notice period. Now that is all gone - half the blokes are happy though because they are not declaring their income. To me the only ones who have gained by dropping zero hours contracts are the company themselves. People seem to forget what the alternative to zero hours contracts is - rarely is it a steady 38 hour contract, unless those are the hours the employees are working anyway and in that case there is legally no difference.


    In the restaurant business Deliveroo provide a great solution - they handle deliveries. Previously a restaurant/takeaway would need to hire a driver for the night - if things got quiet they lost money and if things got too busy for one bloke they lost sales or pissed off customers by being late. Given the casual nature of the job sometimes the driver wouldn't turn up or would leave with no notice so due to all that many places didn't bother with deliveries. Deliveroo solves all that and has increased sales for many restaurants with an associated boost to the economy.


    Employee regulations need to be very carefully applied. There's little point improving conditions only for there to be no jobs available any more. It's like selling a product that no one can afford.


    There was a Commons committee about the likes of Uber and Deliveroo recently, check it out if its still available either on the BBC parliament channel or website. Put it like this, things aren't so rosy as Uber and Deliveroo would like to make out.


    Where a employer cannot offer a standard 35 hour contract for a specific job, then they should "pool" workers. So, a pool of workers are not employed to do specifically one job in one place, but move around as and when needed. So, if more deliveries are required in one area more than another on a particular day, the pool worker(s) gets sent there. This should be supplemented by part time workers, but on permanent contracts. Bringing in contractors just "contracts" the problems away from the employer.


    Treatment of workers is a HOT issue for me and as said before, I've been a life long Conservative voter. My former employer can't even hand out the correct envelopes properly.... More about those bastards in the future...X( If there's one subject beyond care of the elderly that will get me hot under the collar, its this one.

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  • Where I currently work they always used to have zero hours contracts for the workshop staff, now they hire contractors. The guys were better off before - they had sick pay, pension contributions, holiday, the firm looked after their tax/NI contributions and they had a notice period. Now that is all gone - half the blokes are happy though because they are not declaring their income. To me the only ones who have gained by dropping zero hours contracts are the company themselves. People seem to forget what the alternative to zero hours contracts is - rarely is it a steady 38 hour contract, unless those are the hours the employees are working anyway and in that case there is legally no difference.


    In the restaurant business Deliveroo provide a great solution - they handle deliveries. Previously a restaurant/takeaway would need to hire a driver for the night - if things got quiet they lost money and if things got too busy for one bloke they lost sales or pissed off customers by being late. Given the casual nature of the job sometimes the driver wouldn't turn up or would leave with no notice so due to all that many places didn't bother with deliveries. Deliveroo solves all that and has increased sales for many restaurants with an associated boost to the economy.


    Employee regulations need to be very carefully applied. There's little point improving conditions only for there to be no jobs available any more. It's like selling a product that no one can afford.


    So do employers if this story is anything to go by. Although again it seems to be one of those ' our employees are self employed ' companies.


    "Couriers who deliver parcels for Marks & Spencer, River Island and John Lewis face being charged £150 a day if they cannot find cover when they are ill.


    Drivers for the multinational company DPD, which also makes home deliveries for Amazon and Asos, told the Guardian the contractual threat meant they sometimes forced themselves to work when sick.


    One driver in the east of England said his manager charged him £150 last year when he couldn’t work because of an upset stomach."


    https://www.theguardian.com/bu…e-if-unable-to-find-cover

  • I suppose that comes from government IR35 rules where contractors must be distinct from employees - one test being that a contractor can cover for absences whereas an employee can't. Most probably if these companies were forced to have standard employees there would be no business at all, and of course no job to complain about.

  • Where are you getting the "contractors" from Hoxton?


    These delivery people, in my opinion, are employees but are treated as self-employed. I don't get where you're getting the contractors from, that's a totally different thing.

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  • Where are you getting the "contractors" from Hoxton?


    These delivery people, in my opinion, are employees but are treated as self-employed. I don't get where you're getting the contractors from, that's a totally different thing.


    Self employed as a limited company/contractors - same thing.

  • Have you've seen the budget today hoxton? What do you think?


    Could it be the start of trying to sort out the very issue we are discussing in this topic?


    With the change in NICs, we may be starting to see the end of the current self employed system.

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  • Have you've seen the budget today hoxton? What do you think?


    Could it be the start of trying to sort out the very issue we are discussing in this topic?


    With the change in NICs, we may be starting to see the end of the current self employed system.


    Just as I'm about to start up as self employed... Haven't seen it yet.

  • Have a read up....I'm going to read the documents later, but I do reckon its the beginning of the end for the self-employed...

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  • Have a read up....I'm going to read the documents later, but I do reckon its the beginning of the end for the self-employed...


    Not sure how it affects me. However as someone who's always made the effort to work for a living within the boundaries of UK law I am used to being penalised by successive governments - it is easier for them to target me than people who actually cause the problems in this country. My career goal probably should be to sit at home on my arse and let the state look after me and occasionally earn a few quid cash in hand when I can be bothered to sober up. Some bastard installed a work ethic in me, something for which I shall never forgive them.

  • I think the government is trying to address the issues you raised in your original post here.


    The whole idea of working for someone like uber was to "choose" when you work, so the benefits of self-employment were apparent. But the likes of Uber, Amazon etc has abused all this and really the bulk of those who are officially classed as self employed are in effect employees without the benefit of being properly employed.


    So by changing NICs, it is less tax advantageous to "employ" people on a self-employed basis, so it makes sense to just have proper employees. Of course, companies may simply just have less staff overall if their NIC bill keeps rising...

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  • I think the government is trying to address the issues you raised in your original post here.


    The whole idea of working for someone like uber was to "choose" when you work, so the benefits of self-employment were apparent. But the likes of Uber, Amazon etc has abused all this and really the bulk of those who are officially classed as self employed are in effect employees without the benefit of being properly employed.


    So by changing NICs, it is less tax advantageous to "employ" people on a self-employed basis, so it makes sense to just have proper employees. Of course, companies may simply just have less staff overall if their NIC bill keeps rising...


    That's the front they are putting up but lower paid self employed workers won't lose out apparently so it should make no difference to that sector of the job market. Instead it penalises mugs that have made an effort to build up a decent skill set that is in demand and have built a good reputation as a hard worker. There was me naively thinking I could finally start to cash in! Wrong again... I shall have to find a tax fiddle - I know the British public support companies that avoid taxes so I should be on pretty safe ground there.

  • It's a tax grab. Obviously. The country is getting close to being 2 trillion in debt and if they can get some pennies from somewhere, they will.


    Long term, I think this is the beginning of the end for those who are self employed, but low paid and this is the start to try and "push" those people into becoming employees, whether they like it or not.


    Of course, if you are a well paid tv presenter and you are self employed via a limited company, this will make no difference.

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  • So workers have won a victory and Deliveroo have to change their ts and cs. Except one small detail that's missed, Deliveroo's commission from restaurants has gone up by a whopping 5%. So restaurants either take it on the chin or all customers, regardless of whether they use the delivery service, will pay more (Deliveroo won't let delivery prices be higher than other prices).


    A token victory because in most places Deliveroo operate there's more than enough work to keep a delivery driver fully employed so the changes make no real financial difference. It is a real financial victory for Deliveroo though...


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/39889995

  • We were talking about this a month or so ago, weren't we?


    Good news. Lets see if things improve for those working "for" uber, Amazon etc.

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  • A plumber has won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling expected to have huge ramifications for freelance workers.

    Gary Smith had worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years.

    Despite being VAT-registered and paying self-employed tax, he was entitled to workers' rights, the court ruled.

    The ruling will be closely read by others with similar disputes, many of whom work for firms in the so-called gig economy.

    Further on in the BBC article (click the orange link above to read it) different law firms are saying that this decision will probably have no effect on the so called gig economy workers like those who work for companies like Deliveroo, Uber and other so called self employed workers.


    If someone works for a organisation and they have no real control of their day to day working schedule, they are employees. Why do these law firms seem dismissive of this supreme court ruling?

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  • It's wishful thinking. Their highly paid lawyers say they are ok. haha. They may be, for now.


    The PSC's (personal service companies) and employment of freelancers is under scrutiny by HMRC, but they currently go for the easy targets, eg. small employers who don't have expensive tax advisers and lawyers.


    They will eventually get around to the big boys, and those engaging a 'self-employed' person who only has one 'customer' is going to fail the employment status test every time, unless the 'employer' is extremely flexible, and in my experience they usually are the opposite, ie. they tie the 'self employed' person up with very restrictive contracts.


    In the end, these 'employers' could just phoenix their companies to avoid the penalties, and then demand that the freelancers incorporate their own company, so that the risk passes to them. It's already par for the course with many trades and professions. The bad boys will always find a way around the legislation, unfortunately.

  • That's right. A person is hardly self employed if they are under various restrictions from their "employer."


    The way courier drivers, uber drivers etc are treated is disgusting. They have no real control over the terms of their employment and yet get none of the benefits of employees, which they are, in all but name.

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  • I suppose that comes from government IR35 rules where contractors must be distinct from employees - one test being that a contractor can cover for absences whereas an employee can't. Most probably if these companies were forced to have standard employees there would be no business at all, and of course no job to complain about.

    IR35 was originally intended to hit the 'user' of the services, but due to pressure from 'influential' bodies, the liability was removed from the hirer and transferred to the final limited company in the line, ie. the worker, as contractors now insist that their 'workers' be limited companies in their own right ... or no work.


    So the worker gets it in the neck from both the hirer and HMRC. Being a personal service company (ie. liable to IR35) means they cannot take advantage of limited company status by taking dividends. All their pay must be via PAYE, so they pay the employees AND the employers National Insurance (12% and 13.8% respectively), and have the added costs and admin of running a limited company, and their own company is liable for providing themselves employee benefits, eg, holiday and sick pay which are required by law. They don't even get the benefit of Employment allowance, unless they have another employee (besides themselves) and sick pay is no longer recoverable from the government.

  • Fidget, how would you handle the likes of uber and deliveroo drivers, assuming you thought any change is necessary?


    Unlike well paid television presenters, I don't think the average uber driver would be able to turn themselves into a limited or personal services company.

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  • IR35 should have done what was intended, ie. put the onus on the end user to determine employment status and pay the penalty if they get it wrong, regardless of what the 'employee' was forced to agree to. Also, HMRC should use their current powers to pursue the directors personally, for unpaid PAYE/NI when a company folds.


    Companies sometimes hold on to the PAYE/NI deducted from their employees instead of paying it over to HMRC. If they then fold the company owing unreported large amounts to HMRC, this causes one hell of a problem for the now out-of-work employees. HMRC take a lot of convincing that the employee has had it deducted by their employer (who often do not provide wage slips), and often demand they pay the tax/NI again, as a self employed person.


    HMRC are infamous for screwing up payroll records, at the best of times.


    I have maybe seen the worst of employers, but it's usually the worker that comes of the worst for dodgy employers.

  • Still not sure how this would apply to people like uber drivers though.


    The television presenters and the Beeb got into a lot of flack, because the systems they set up were essentially to avoid tax by employing the presenters via a third party. Uber drivers are, in effect, directly employed and not employed via a third party, so don't see how IR35 is relevant to them.:/


    Edit: Of course that last sentence is just my opinion and yet to be sorted out by the government. So to correct, uber drivers etc are not directly employed, yet.

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  • Fidget, don't waste your time trying to explain tax to me. Totally above my pay grade! It's why I used to work for accountants rather than be one.^^

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  • Uber drivers are self-employed. That's fine, if they can choose when and where to work, determine their own fees, etc. and they are allowed to take additional contracts. I don't believe that is the case, though.

  • It's also a requirement of IR35 that your service company supplies services to at least two (preferably more) different clients in any 24 month period and also not to work on a continuous basis for any one client in the same period. I know because that's how I run my consultancy company and am able to pay dividends and avoid NI contributions and income tax.


    I run fixed price contracts of a defined period. I also collect and pay VAT to HMRC.

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  • It's also a requirement of IR35 that your service company supplies services to at least two (preferably more) different clients in any 24 month period and also not to work on a continuous basis for any one client in the same period. I know because that's how I run my consultancy company and am able to pay dividends and avoid NI contributions and income tax.


    I run fixed price contracts of a defined period. I also collect and pay VAT to HMRC.

    True, and if you obtained a contract that extended 24 months, or more, even if they they were separate companies but all in the same area, ie. you had one contract in South London which ended, but gained another contract in South London that extended beyond 24 months from the original contract, then you would be denied many normally claimable expenses. Also, an 'IR35 proof contract' is meaningless if work conditions are contrary to the actual work conditions, ie. the contract allows for substitutes (to get around IR35 rules), but in reality they are not acceptable to the end user. Actual working practice overrides written contracts, if it means HMRC can get someone under IR35.


    IR35 is a real pig's ear and all because the government allowed the liability to be transferred away from those with influence.

  • Uber drivers are self-employed. That's fine, if they can choose when and where to work, determine their own fees, etc. and they are allowed to take additional contracts. I don't believe that is the case, though.

    No its not and why the government is looking at this so called self employment.


    When I was looking about IR35, I came across this link:


    https://www.lovemoney.com/news…-requirements-license-tax


    And that makes clear that Uber controls what jobs drivers get and at what cost. Then Uber issues wages to the drivers at the end of the week and pays them directly into driver's bank accounts.


    How Uber have got away for so long calling this self-employment, is beyond me.

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