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Government reportedly preparing crackdown on firms using self-employed workers to shirk payment of sick pay and pensions contributions

PUBLISHED: 08:43 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 20 March 2017

File photo of Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, was brought in by Theresa May to carry out a review of employment practices. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

File photo of Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, was brought in by Theresa May to carry out a review of employment practices. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

The government is to crack down on companies using self-employed workers to avoid paying sickness pay, pensions contributions and maternity benefits, it has been reported.

A review commissioned by Theresa May has found evidence that growing numbers of firms are abusing the law by using self-employed workers to take on jobs previously filled by salaried staff, according to The Times.

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It is being carried out by Matthew Taylor, a former head of the No 10 policy unit under Tony Blair who now heads the Royal Society of Arts.

He told The Times: “Technology is enabling new business models and new ways of breaking jobs down, which means it is important to have clarity over the difference between employment and self-employment.

“There is a lack of clarity and in that fuzzy space some businesses are behaving in ways that are not appropriate.”

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Mr Taylor said one of the key issues he was looking at was the extent to which firms wanted to control their workers.

He said: “We need to say to firms, if you want to control your workers you will have to respect their rights and provide entitlements too, but if you really don’t want to control them, that’s fine, then they’ll be self-employed.

“But there look like there are cases at the moment where firms both want control but not to provide those workers with entitlements and rights.”

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Insight

Matthew Taylor’s review of UK employment practices is intended to help inform legislation changes to accommodate new employment models. Bethany Whymark gauges the business reaction.

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