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New rights needed for self-employed workers

21st March 2016

The Community trade union has called for ‘a new settlement of rights’ for self-employed workers following publication of a Social Market Foundation report on self-employment. The report revealed that 1.7 million self-employed workers will miss out on the new National Living Wage when it comes into force in April. The union fears that self-employment may be used by ‘bad employers’ as a way to exploit workers. John Park, Assistant General Secretary of Community, said:

“This is a timely report and highlights that while there are obviously great benefits to being self-employed, there are a number of pitfalls too – particularly when workers have little or no choice about becoming self-employed.

“With the number of self-employed workers expected to double in the next five years it is vital we have a new settlement of rights and responsibilities between the state, business and the self-employed.

“If that doesn’t happen, there is a danger that self-employment will become a catch-all option for bad employers looking for ways to cut wages, cut holiday or sickness pay and cut job security.

“Trade unions need to respond to these challenges in a thoughtful way by providing support which is relevant to this new army of workers.”