Theresa May orders review of employment practices

The prime minister has commissioned an independent review of current employment practices and how they impact on workers, employers and the self-employed.

Theresa May has asked RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor to lead the review; it will examine employee rights and responsibilities as well as employer freedoms and obligations. The review will also focus on the needs of the self-employed.

The wide-ranging review will look at ways to ensure that the regulatory framework surrounding employment, and the support provided to businesses and workers, is keeping pace with changes in the labour market and the economy. It will also consider how flexibility can be maintained while supporting job security and workplace rights.

Matthew Taylor said that the review team would "get out and about across Britain hearing at first-hand how people's experience of work affects their daily lives." New forms of employment, he said, "have many advantages for workers and consumers but there are challenges and risks. We need to approach this issue with an open mind."

The review will address six key themes:

  • Security, pay and rights;
  • Progression and training;
  • Rights and responsibilities;
  • Representation;
  • Opportunities for under-represented groups;
  • New business models.

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "FSB has long called for policymakers to respond to the boom in self-employment, which is rapidly changing the way the UK economy operates. The policy environment has simply not kept pace, and has not adapted to the needs of this growing and diverse element of the workforce."

Cherry has also welcomed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's promise to review conditions for the self-employed. He said: "For the first time, we now have a total cross-party consensus to improve the lot of the self-employed in the UK - and now we have to see progress. We will be inputting into the [RSA] review to make progress on the maternity allowance, pension access, collective income insurance models and a new definition of self-employment."

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