In a move that is sure to be interesting for contractors around the UK, Theresa May has appointed Tony Blair’s old employment law advisor.
This comes just as the subject of employment rights has been in the headlines a lot over the past few months, with stories regarding zero hours contracts and employees who are hired as contractors even though many think they should be hired full-time.
One example of course is that of the company Deliveroo, who have been criticised by many in the media for having its workers on a self-employed basis rather than as employees.
In my opinion, this is something that goes in favour of the worker, mainly because they can earn make more money as a self employed contractor rather than being on a set wage.
It’s certainly a debatable subject, and not one that is straight forward by any means, but it is good to see that the Prime Minister is taking it seriously and potentially getting in the right people to look at the matter more closely.
The Blair advisor hired by Theresa May is Matthew Taylor, who worked in the Government between 2003 and 2006 and will now be tasked with setting up a new framework of employment rights for the millions of UK people around the country.
This is definitely not an easy task by any means, especially when you consider all of the different ways companies hire people in 2016, with contractors, freelancers, self-employed businesses and so called “gigs” where people offer their skills on a per job basis.
It’s also difficult when you consider that two people can do the same job but expect different things out of the position.
For example, one person might want company benefits and a pension scheme, while another will want the ability to work from home and have the freedom to work hours they choose. For this reason it can be almost impossible to decide what is the correct employment status for a particular role if workers view it differently.
What I will say is there are certain areas of employment where people are being taken advantage of. So called zero hours contracts that are now the norm in many warehouse and factory environments, are in some cases designed to benefit the employer greatly over the employee, to the point where the employee has virtually no rights at all.
I hope that Matthew Taylor is able to do something about this practice, and balance things out a bit more in some industries so that workers are given the basic rights they deserve.
As mentioned earlier though, it’s not always straight forward to decide what is right and what is wrong, and this is why I don’t expect to see big changes overnight.