Matthew Taylor review: seven key principles to improve the UK job market

Stock photo of an Uber sign. The ride-hailing app will not be able to operate in London after Septem

Stock photo of an Uber sign. The ride-hailing app will not be able to operate in London after September 30 after its licence was not renewed. Photo: Laura Dale/PA Wire - Credit: PA

In his employment review, commissioned by the prime minister, Matthew Taylor sets out seven principles to improve the UK job and employment market to secure 'fair and decent work'. Here they are:

1. Our national strategy for work should be explicitly directed toward the goal of 'good work for all'. It is something for which government needs to be held accountable, but for which we all need to take responsibility.

2. Platform-based working (a business model which facilitates exchanges between two or more groups, usually consumers and producers), offers opportunities for genuine two-way flexibility and can be beneficial for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways (companies such as Deliveroo and ride-hailing app Uber operate within these parameters). These should be protected while ensuring fairness for those who work through these platforms and those who compete with them. Worker (or 'dependent contractor' as the review suggests renaming it) status should be maintained but we should be clearer about how to distinguish workers from those who are legitimately self-employed.

3. The law, and the way it is promoted and enforced, should help firms make the right choices and individuals to know and exercise their rights. The 'employment wedge' (the additional, largely non-wage costs associated with taking on an employee) is already high and we should avoid increasing it further. Dependent contractors are the group most likely to suffer from unfair, one-sided flexibility and therefore there should be additional protections for this group and stronger incentives for firms to treat them fairly.

4. The best way to achieve better work is not national regulation but responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within an organisation, which is why it is important that companies are seen to take good work seriously and are open about their practices and that all workers are able to be engaged and heard.


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5. It is vital to individuals and the health of our economy that everyone feels they have realistically attainable ways to strengthen their future work prospects and that they can record and enhance the capabilities developed in formal and informal learning and in on-the-job and off-the-job activities.

6. The shape and content of work and individual health and well-being are strongly related. For the benefit of firms, workers and the public interest we need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health.

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7. The National Living Wage is a powerful tool to raise the financial base line of low-paid workers. It needs to be accompanied by sectoral strategies engaging employers, employees and stakeholders to ensure that people – particularly in low-paid sectors – are not stuck at the living wage minimum or facing insecurity but can progress in their current and future work.

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