'Worker' status in Great Britain
The 'Status of Workers Bill' aimed at simplifying the status of workers is currently being examined by the House of Commons
In the United Kingdom, the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 currently establish two types of ‘worker’ with a varying degree of rights. For a detailed overview of the difference in rights enjoyed by employees, please see the summary prepared by the House of Lords Library here.
A private member’s bill - the Status of Workers Bill - that seeks to put an end to these differences was introduced to the House of Lords in 2021 with the aim of creating a single status for workers and giving statutory employment rights to all workers other than the genuinely self-employed. This would mean that any person working for somebody else would have access to the same rights (such as paid leave, sick leave, maternity leave, protection from unfair dismissal, etc.).
The intention of the bill is also to regulate bogus self-employed workers, as clarified by the sponsor of the bill, Lord John Hendy (Labour), in his speech which can be found here. Lord Hendy described this issue as "workers whose arrangements are dressed up to look as if they are self-employed, but who are, in reality, employees.” The bill will also regulate “ […] those forced into [creating a personal service company - PSC]. This is where a worker is told by the real employer that if she wants to work, she must set up a personal service company […].”
The bill, which has the support of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has gone through two readings in the House of Lords, and is currently at its second reading in the House of Commons. For an overview of the next stages of the bill as well as the full text, please refer to the Parliament's website here.