Ahead of last week’s decision that drivers working for the taxi app Uber were considered ‘workers’ with statutory rights, over 80% of self-employed workers have told ContractorCalculator that are happy with their working status and they do not want any rights at all. The result was revealed in a survey conducted by the online platform that has become the expert guide for 100,000 freelancers and contractors every month since it was launched in 1999.
Of the 250 freelancers who took part in the survey:
– 88% said they do not want maternity/paternity rights
– 82% said they do not want sickness pay. 25% are insured and 80% use savings instead
– 85% shun holiday rights and pay. All take holidays around contracts or negotiate time off with clients
– 75% do not want to be forced into auto-enrolment of a pension
– 80% do not want extra rights to help with grievances or disciplinary matters
– 94% do not want any restrictions on hours worked and are happy to manage their own affairs
The survey results also signal a clear message to HMRC in lights of its plans to set up a new unit, the employment status and intermediaries team, to target the exploitation of the self-employed.
Dave Chaplin CEO and founder of Contractor Calculator who conducted the survey said:
“It is clear from the results of our research that freelancers and contractors love the gig economy and do not want rights. Government needs to understand that media reports associated with self-employed couriers and drivers who are part of the gig economy do not paint the full picture of self-employment. There are thousands upon thousands of the self-employed working on a business to business basis who are very happy with the way they work and the last thing they want is further legislative burdens. They do not see themselves as vulnerable workers.
“Under the Coalition and Cameron administration we have been used to seeing knee-jerk legislation that has applied abundant red tape on the small business sector. Government needs to understand and be very careful about how it decides to legislate and protect under paid workers who make up part of the low-paid gig economy without destroying the very valuable freelancer sector that underpins the UK workforce and economy. It is important that we protect low paid workers, but I would appeal to the Government not to ruin the freelance sector in the process. More red tape for freelancers will be sure to damage the economy and as we prepare to leave the EU these workers will be vital to the process.
“It seems that some firms are using the on-demand gig-economy to effectively suppress workers rights and pay them less than the minimum wage and these firms should be challenged about how they treat their workers and should be forced to treat them fairly and appropriately.
“However, this simply isn’t the case for all self-employed workers. 78% of the freelance workforce have chosen to work this way, they want to be responsible for themselves and their businesses and they do not want ‘rights’. They should be allowed to get on with it.”