Tory minister Ed Vaizey has gone on record saying that freelance workers in the so called “gig economy” should be on minimum wage.
This of course comes at a time when the line between employment and self employment is not completely clear. Take the Uber situation for example, where courts are now starting to rule that their freelance drivers are in fact employed and should be guaranteed minimum wage.
I am going to disagree with Ed Vaizey here and for the simple reason that if you choose to be self employed then why should you be guaranteed anything? That is the chance anyone takes when they start a new business, go freelance, become a contractor or choose to be a gig worker, and if you don’t like the thought of it then get a job where you are guaranteed a wage. It really is as simple as that.
Uber workers knew what they were signing up for when taking on the role…a freelance position with an opportunity to potentially earn money…not a guarantee, and if you don’t agree with that then look elsewhere. If you want minimum wage then look elsewhere. Unfortunately, it seems people like Ed Vaizey just don’t understand this.
Instead, he has called for the government to give us a “definition of a new kind of worker in the gig economy” which he then went on to describe as a “halfway house” between being employed and self employed.
He’s wrong of course, and anyone with any kind of common sense can see this. Either you are employed or you are not. There is no halfway house.
If you are a contractor or freelancer benefiting from the gig economy then you are self employed, and the idea of a minimum wage is ludicrous.
As we all know though, many politicians are way out of touch with what is really going on in the world, especially the world of business, and once you give them any kind of power or input into the decision making process they have this amazing ability to get things completely wrong.
Once this happens, they hide away and try to pass the blame. It’s easy to call for minimum wage for gig workers like Ed Vaizey has, if you don’t have to take any responsibility when things go wrong.
The freelance world is now full of people who quit well paying jobs with companies like Google and Microsoft, in order to offer their skills in the gig economy, and are now earning more than before, while working less hours and living the kind of lifestyle they want to.
These people don’t need a guarantee of minimum wage, and if you do then I really don’t think being a gig worker is for you.