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7 February 2018, 01:10
Millions of people workers in the so-called gig economy are to be given sick and holiday pay from day one, under Government plans to modernise workers' rights.
The Department for Business has responded to the Matthew Taylor review, published last summer, which called for all work to be properly rewarded.
The plans include enforcing workers' holidays and sick pay for the first time and introducing the right for all workers to request a more stable contract to provide more financial security.
The gig economy describes the trend for companies to hire freelancers instead of full-time employees with people being paid for each "gig" they do.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The Taylor Review said that the current approach to employment is successful but that we should build on that success, in preparing for future opportunities.
"We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges."
Also included in the proposals:
:: Defining "working time" for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online so they know when they should be being paid.
:: Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hour contracts.
:: Quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We recognise the world of work is changing and we have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes, enhancing the UK's position as one of the best places in the world to do business.
"We are proud to have record levels of employment in this country but we must also ensure that workers' rights are always upheld."
But the plans have been criticised by unions, which have described them as weak.
The GMB union said the Government's plans were akin to "trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol" and the TUC said the Government had taken a "baby step, when it needed to take a giant leap".
Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, told Sky News the Government needs to be as tough on abuse in the gig economy as it is on crime:
"These companies know they are unlawfully depriving workers of rights they're entitled to and the reason they get away with it is because there's no government enforcement.
"But for government enforcement to be effective they need to put in the resources to properly enforce the law and create a deterrent effect so these companies have an incentive to obey the law."
One Deliveroo and UberEats bicycle delivery driver - who only wanted to be named as Alan - told Sky News that although the job offers flexibility, it is time that workers were offered more protection.
"It's better people working than not working - people want to work but that doesn't mean it's a good thing that people have work without any sick pay, without any minimum wage - that's not a good thing," he said.
Responding to the Government plans, Deliveroo said: "The Central Arbitration Committee ruled recently that Deliveroo riders are self-employed, which gives them the flexibility they value most.
"But Deliveroo wants to go further and offer riders more security too. That's why we welcome this consultation and the chance to work with the Government to end the current legal trade off between flexibility and security."
(c) Sky News 2018: Gig economy workers to get improved employment rights