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Employers Accused of Denying Paid Holidays to Staff

Employers Accused of Denying Paid Holidays to Staff

holiday pay for self employed and temporary staff

Citizens Advice has claimed that hundreds of thousands of people are missing out on the 28 days paid holiday to which all full-time workers are entitled.

The charity said that some employers mistakenly, and illegally, told staff that they were not entitled to any paid holidays because they were on zero-hours contracts or could only have fewer days than they were due. It also found some firms had made paid holiday conditional on meeting targets, and had refused requests for paid leave by citing ‘business needs.’

Based on the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, Citizens Advice says that two out of five people on temporary contracts do not know they can take paid time off.

The most common example was treating people as self-employed when they were in effect a full-time employee, which Citizens Advice said could affect up to 460,000 workers. The charity wants the government to redefine self-employment in law and for employment tribunal fees to be reduced to £50 from their present range of £390 to £1,200.

Citizens Advice said that while some employers mislead employees about holiday entitlement due to the ignorance of bosses, others purposefully flout the law and exploit workers’ confusion.

Gillian Guy, the charity’s chief executive, said:

“Thousands are missing out on rights they are entitled to due to a lack of awareness, confusion and in some cases deliberate dirty tactics by employers. With more than half of employers having staff working shifts or variable hours, action needs to be taken now to protect workers’ rights.”


MPs: Gig economy free-riding on welfare state

MPs on the Commons work and pensions committee have said companies operating in the ‘gig economy’ are “free-riding” on the welfare state by relying on self-employed workers. In a report, MPs said the companies had propagated a “myth of self-employment” that deprived the state of badly needed tax revenues. Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, said those working for such companies should be offered worker status as the default option.

The report says there are tax advantages to both workers and businesses in opting for a self-employed contractor arrangement but it cautions that workers are at risk from exploitation and poor working conditions.

Mr. Field said: “It is clearly profit and profit only that is the motive for designating workers as self-employed. The companies get all the benefits, while workers take on all the risks and the state will be expected to pick up the tab, with little contribution from the companies involved. It is up to the government to close the loopholes that are currently being exploited by these companies, as part of a necessary and wide-ranging reform to the regulation of corporate behaviour.”

The committee says it wants a future government to adopt an assumption of the employment status of ‘worker’ by default, rather than ‘self-employed.’ It says this would put the onus on employers to provide basic safety net standards of rights and benefits to their workers, and make necessary contributions to the social safety net. Employers who did not want to accede to such a model would need to present their case for doing so. This would move the burden of proof of employment status onto the better-resourced company instead of the individual.

Bad jobs harm growth says top economist

Matthew Taylor, who is heading up a government review into the gig economy, has said low-quality jobs frustrate workers and harm productivity. While a quest for purpose at work has traditionally largely been seen as an issue for individuals who are responsible for their own careers and wellbeing, employers need to step in and help drive optimism and engagement which in turn increases productivity, he said.

Mr Taylor is the chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), a leading think tank which has made some recommendations about steps which could be taken to provide greater protection to gig workers. It has proposed that there should be penalties against companies using clauses in contracts that prohibit litigation over employment status, and it says fees for workers challenging their employment status could be waived.

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