3.2 million UK workers (1 in 10) are now in precarious work – and the number of workers at risk of missing out on key employment protections has nearly doubled in a decade to 1.5 million (an increase of 700,000), according to a new TUC report published today (Thursday).
The report – Living on the edge – shows that 1.5 million people now risk missing out on protection from unfair dismissal and the right to redundancy pay (even if they have worked for two years or more for an employer). And nearly half a million (485,000) have no legal right to sick pay due to low pay.
Living on the edge also reveals that the pay penalty for some forms of precarious working has got worse over the last decade:
The prime minister has called on Matthew Taylor to lead an independent review into how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models; Living on the edge calls on the independent review of employment practices to strengthen legal protections for precarious workers.
The TUC believes that the Taylor review of employment practices should examine the following areas:
The TUC believes that existing rights should be available to all those in work, not only those who qualify for ‘employee’ status. This includes family friendly rights, protection from unfair dismissal and the right to redundancy pay.
Employers should not be able to ‘opt-out’ of their employment and tax responsibilities simply by labelling someone as self-employed. The TUC wants all workers to qualify for all workplace rights unless the employer can demonstrate the individual is genuinely self-employed.
All workers, including those on low pay should be entitled to statutory sick pay and policymakers should look at extending other forms of support such as paternity pay.
Tribunal fees should be abolished. Since introducing fees of up to £1,200, the number of employment tribunal cases has fallen by over 9,000 a month.
Expanding union presence in workplaces is a vital route to tackling insecurity. A good start would be to make it easier for all workers, including those in precarious jobs, to be able to talk to a union rep. Unions should therefore have a right to access workplaces or to meet with staff during working hours.
Regional Secretary Northern TUC