Also in the news this week - 18 May 2017

Ransomware threat to SMEs

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is warning UK small businesses to take urgent steps to protect themselves from future cyber ransomware attacks. As well as following its cyber protection advice, FSB says smaller businesses should get specific cyber protection insurance. Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: "We are urging all small businesses to take steps to reduce the risk of an attack. Businesses should immediately check for updates to their operating systems and anti-malware software, and download them where needed. We advise small firms to make sure their data is backed up - if the worst happens, data cannot then be held to ransom."

Defining self-employment

Freelance body IPSE is calling for a statutory definition of self-employment in its official submission to the Taylor Review of modern employment practices. The definition should consider four key tenets, it says - having autonomy in work; having control over working arrangements; taking on business risk and having responsibility for finance and tax; and having a level of independence from clients. Simon McVicker, IPSE director of policy, said: "Too often the courts are relied on to determine employment status … it's time for the policy-makers to take responsibility."

One in four SMEs rely on gig economy workers

More than a quarter (26%) of UK SMEs have employed at least one gig economy worker in the past 12 month, according to the latest Zurich SME Risk Index. More than two-thirds (70%) of those polled said that gig economy workers are important to their company's profitability; and 10% said gig economy workers make up 90% of their workforce or more. However, 52% admitted that gig economy work "lacks security" and 20% said the arrangement could be "unfair" on workers.

CIPD publishes manifesto for "good work"

HR professional body CIPD is calling for publication of pay ratios, additional rights for zero-hours workers and increased investment in skills in its new manifesto. It is urging the next Government to put "good work" at the heart of its thinking to improve the economy and to boost individual welfare and prosperity. Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, said: "The key to building better businesses, and a better economy, is dealing with the long-standing challenges that have led us to a point where pay is stagnating, trust in business is declining and there is falling investment in skills. This election should be about the future of work, and it is vital that the next Government puts the workplace at the heart of its agenda."

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