The Taylor Review

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What is it?

In 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned Matthew Taylor to lead a complete review of modern employment practices – everything from zero-hour contracts to the definitions of different employment statuses.

IPSE was heavily involved in the review process. Not only did we have a number of private meetings with Matthew Taylor; we were also invited to appear before a public evidence session to set out our views.

What did we call for?

In our submission to the Review, we set out six key ways to support the self-employed:

  • Clarify the confusion about employment status
  • Encourage pension uptake and saving for later life
  • Develop fairer maternity, paternity and childcare support
  • Incentivise training and skills development
  • Build up the physical and digital infrastructure to make self-employment possible across the country
  • Create a fairer, more efficient tax system

What happened?

The resulting report had many positive aspects, as well as some slightly more concerning features:

  • IPSE was pleased the Review recognised that most self-employed people are happy with their way of working.
  • We also agreed with the Review on the need for clarity and a clearer distinction between self-employment and other employment statuses. However, we were disappointed the Review didn’t go that one step further and call for a statutory definition of self-employment, as we have been advocating.  
  • We were also sceptical of the Review’s calls for a new ‘dependent contractor’ status to help tackle false self-employment in the gig economy. We believe that instead of stopping false self-employment and bringing clarity, it may actually just add to the confusion. We are also concerned the proposed category is too reductive – particularly if it only uses ‘control’ and ‘direction’ as indicators. We believe you can only get a true picture by judging each self-employed engagement on its own merits.
  • IPSE agrees with the Review, however, about the worrying lack of pension provision and illness insurance among the self-employed. We join the Review in calling for urgent research into solutions to both these problems.
  • We also agree with the Taylor Review about aligning tax and employment status: this could only be a positive step and a great leap towards clearing the current confusion.