Today I saw this scare mongering article on contracting:
I see where this is coming from. Doesn't this Tory government understand the difference between professional contractors (who set a daily/hourly rate, and have a 3/6/12 month contract) and the gig economy (where an 'employer' like Uber sets the rates. And it's easy to earn under minimum wage) as well as zero hour contracts?
Yes, yes they do.
The Tories are known as a party who promote self-employment, and growing your own wealth, so policies stopping the freedom to become self-employed are unlikely.
So let's delve deeper.
The latter three types of employment need to be addressed - if not, frankly we may as well go back to Victorian times!
As someone who has worked in all three of the above types of 'self-employment' there is a vast difference: namely, as a contractor I now set my daily rate, choose when I work and what exactly I work on. It's wonderful. The company paying for my services may control the length of the employment - but I control everything else (muhahahaha). I rotate roles regularly, get to gain knowledge of a variety of projects, and basically I see it as a continuation of my apprenticeship, although I already haz skilz, and I choose where I want to direct my learning.
Whereas before, as part of the 'gig economy' I was told what to do, how much I would be paid, how long I would work, if overtime was paid or not and how many more tiny but significant parts of my life would go. Getting an email at 5am saying not to come into work that day was never a good thing (especially when I forgot to read my emails so had already bought the £12 train ticket), this left me feeling trapped, gloomy, poor and frankly I never want to go back there!
Most of this was minimum wage, and including the many times I randomly wasn't paid what I was owed because of random technicalities and once travel costs were taken out. I had one job where I input data while sitting in a broom cupboard. This was the low point of my career. Luckily I usually finished the said data entry in under two hours, but if I did that my wages didn't cover my travel.
When reading about Mr. Taylor's paper, he is concentrating on the extent that non-standard employment is "undermining the reach of policies like National Living Wage". Most IT contractors will not be undermining this. The gig economy is. Paying people for what they produce (rather than the time worked) puts the risk onto the employee, personally I'm only willing to take that risk if I'm being paid more than the going rate (which is one of the proposal's being mooted by Mr Taylor).
The one thing I think should be changed: the low tax rates paid by people working from limited companies, is not really addressed by this report. I know that many contractors disagree, saying it makes up for the instability, but this is a (currently) legal way of avoiding tax.
A clearer view of the coverage of the report can be found on the government's own website.
I look forward to the publication soon - and may even write something about it. We will see.