The issue of is whether the ‘traditional’ employee model is sustainable is a hot topic. What is clear is that the world of work is changing. Many individuals sell goods online via outlets like Ebay, offer taxi services through Uber and accommodate tourists in their spare room via Airbnb. This is referred to as the so-called “gig economy”, where incomes are earned or supplemented by trading individual goods and services online.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into the future world of work. Its inquiry will not only focus on the rapidly changing nature of work and those working in the gig economy, but will also look at the status and rights of agency workers and the self-employed. It will consider the definition of “worker”, and whether this is clear enough, the balance of benefits between workers and employers, flexible contracts, zero-hour contracts, the role of the Low Pay Commission, minimum wage enforcement and the role of trade unions in providing representation. It will explore whether the balance of benefits between workers and employers is right for those casual and agency workers working in the gig economy, and whether further protection and support should be provided for agency workers and those who are not employees.

The inquiry comes about following the case of Uber and the status of its drivers, along with recent reports in relation to the employment status of cyclists working for the food delivery service, Deliveroo, the working practices at Sports Direct and news stories about the working practices at Hermes and Asos.

The deadline for submissions for this inquiry is 19 December 2016. We will publish the findings when they are made available.

If you would like further information on this article, or have any Employment Law queries, please contact Probert Legal Limited – solicitors based in Exeter covering Devon, Cornwall and the rest of UK.