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Gig Economy: Legal Status of Gig Economy Workers and Working Practices

Published Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Lords Library Briefing provides information on current employment law, and what it means to be ‘self-employed’, a ‘worker’, or an ‘employee’.

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It has been argued by some lawyers, politicians, researchers, companies and workplace-relations organisations, that the gig economy has created difficulties in defining the employment status of those who work within it under current law. Many companies in this area have been the subject of legal challenges from individuals working in the gig economy regarding their employment status. Furthermore, the issue of gig economy employment status has been addressed by multiple governmental organisations, government-commissioned reviews, and parliamentary reviews.

This Briefing provides information on current employment law, and what it means to be ‘self-employed’, a ‘worker’, or an ‘employee’. It provides information on all current and previous legal challenges brought against companies operating in the taxi driving, food delivery, goods couriers and skilled manual labour sectors of the gig economy, and their meaning for the employment status of individuals working in these sectors. Information on the various government and parliamentary reviews to have focused on gig economy employment status in included. It concludes with information on potential wider legal implications of how the legal status of workers in the gig economy is to be defined.

This Briefing is part two of a two-part series on the gig economy. Part one provides a general introduction to the gig economy, including sectors, demographic information, and potential impact on the wider economy.

Lords Library notes LLN-2018-0026

Author: James Ainsworth

Topic: Employment

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.