Labour would give gig economy workers right to sick pay with new workers rights charter

Labour would give gig economy workers the right to sick pay under its new “workers’ rights charter”.

The party launched its “new deal for working people” on Monday, claiming it would see an additional 6.1 million workers eligible for statutory sick pay.

Labour cited Office for National Statistics figures, which suggest 4.2 million self-employed workers, including gig economy workers, do not currently qualify for statutory sick pay, alongside 1.9 million people who are currently employed, but cannot claim it.

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Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s shadow employment rights and protections secretary, said: “Millions of workers are in insecure employment with low pay and few rights and protections, particularly key workers whose efforts got the country through the pandemic.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner during a visit to The Construction Skills Centre in London.Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner during a visit to The Construction Skills Centre in London.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner during a visit to The Construction Skills Centre in London.

“A lack of basic rights and protections forces working people into poverty and insecurity.

“This is terrible for working people, damaging for the economy and, as we have seen throughout the pandemic, devastating for public health.

“We need a new deal for working people. Labour would ensure that all work balances the flexibility workers want with the security they deserve.”

The plans would see the three separate legal statuses of employment rolled into one status of “worker” and given the same rights.

These further 6.1 million people would then be offered rights including sick pay, National Minimum Wage entitlement, holiday pay, paid parental leave, and protection against unfair dismissal.

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The pledge follows a series of court cases over the gig economy, with the Court of Appeal ruling in July that Deliveroo riders were not workers and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining rights.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner launched the party’s workers rights charter on Monday morning at a co-working hub in central London and hailed it as the “minimum” workers could expect after the pandemic.

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She said: “Today the new deal is about – we are at a fork in the road as we come out of this pandemic – that people in Britain shouldn’t have to go to work and really struggle to feed their families and support themselves in very low paid, insecure work.

“Today is about making sure that everybody gets rights from day one in employment, can have the right to flexible working, not just for the employer, but for the employees as well who have done so much adapting and working from home in this period, and making sure that everybody has at least a minimum of £10 an hour, a real living wage.

“I think that will really boost our economy, but also give people some security and respect in work. We think that is the absolute minimum that people should expect.”

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP explained the party wanted "good-quality jobs" that pay a "proper wage that people can raise a family on".

She said: "Under the Conservatives we have a broken economic model defined by insecure work, low wages and in-work poverty and a lack of opportunity for people who want to get on and find good work to support themselves and their families."

Amanda Milling MP, co-chairman of the Conservative Party said: "While Labour carp from the sidelines, we're continuing to support business while taking the tough decisions needed to rebuild from the pandemic and protect people's jobs and livelihoods."

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