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The gig economy friend or foe?
What began as seemingly unstoppable success for
the gig economy has very quickly turned sour with regular press around poor
pay, lack of employee benefits and tough demands placed on workers. As of this
week, working standards will be addressed with a proposed government review of
employment law and minimum wage for those operating in the gig economy. A
number of solutions could be proposed as part of this reform to improve the
working conditions of an estimated 1.1 million gig workers in the UK. In
anticipation of what could be a lengthy review process, we take a look at the
current conditions for gig workers and its pros and cons.
Flexible working hours
The gig economy offers perfect
opportunities for those who need to pick up work as and when it suits them.
Those pursuing other projects, supporting a family or studying, for instance,
can earn an income whilst still having the time to commit to other priorities.
Often those in full time work or those unable to commit to a full-time job still require an extra cash flow. With the option to work more or less hours as needed, gig workers can pay for their living expenses without the ties of a 9-5 job.
Style of work
Full-time contracts often come
with the extra baggage of tough entry requirements and long recruitment
processes. For talented workers who want to enter the workforce quickly,
contracting can be a quicker way to get employed whilst learning new skills
which can build a comprehensive freelance portfolio. Those who suddenly find
themselves unemployed for any reason also have the option of a quick-entry to
work without a long period of job applications.
Lack of stability
As easy as gig workers can enter
work there are also low barriers to exit. Any given source of contract work can
dry up quickly and gig workers find themselves without the protection that
full-time contract workers will have if they are to be made redundant. A sudden
lack of demand, over-staffing or budget costs can find you without employment
leaving your income in a potentially fragile state.
Benefits and protection
Full-time contracts ensure workers are protected and have a right to employment benefits, gig workers are without these perks. Protection like severance pay, disability leave, PTO, sick days, and pensions are some of the things not afforded to those working within the gig economy.
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