New rights for gig workers – A step in the right direction

With the new legislation coming into play, whilst a step in the right direction, these workers require more benefits and rights. Contributor Peter Briffett, CEO and founder of financial wellness organisation – Wagestream.

Barista in the gig economy

Many of the companies using gig workers today are well known for the very flexible products and services that they give to their customers – but evidently very little of this flexibility passes down to their staff.

This is particularly pertinent during the festive season when we are all expected to spend a lot more than usual. Shift and gig workers are most likely to be anxious about the “Cost of Christmas” this year in comparison to other kinds of workers. 93 percent are worried that they won’t be able to afford the festivities this year, with many working extra shifts over the holidays and not even knowing when they’ll be paid for their labour. Many will get into more debt as a result and some have even said they will have to cancel Christmas.

When the plans for these regulations were first leaked a few months ago the government identified that addressing ‘one-sided flexibility’ is absolutely critical – this is very important. We need to either give gig workers all the benefits of flexible working (like greater control over working hours and conditions and getting-paid-as-you-go) or we must give them the same rights and benefits as the rest of the workforce.

A flexible income alone will provide benefits for employers as well as staff. For example, companies who have given staff access to their earned income during the month have seen a 40 percent plus increase in retention, a 20 percent plus increase in productivity and a growth in job applications.