Citizens Advice has urged the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to offer more support to flexible workers by addressing key issues including introducing pay for parental leave and offering better support for contractors who want to save for their retirement.
The independent charity claims the government’s ongoing review into self-employment makes this the ideal time to make changes that can benefit the burgeoning flexible workforce across the country. It also wants the government to provide clarity and consistency regarding the definition of self-employment.
New figures published by Citizens Advice indicate that around 460,000 workers across the UK may currently be bogusly self-employed by rogue employers that don’t want to recognise employee status to save on pension contributions, holiday and sick pay, and employers’ national insurance.
The chief executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said self-employment should be an “empowering experience”, despite the fact that around one in ten people classed as self-employed should in fact be on the permanent payroll. The charity believes this could cost the government in excess of £300m every year in lost tax and NI contributions.
“With our research finding two in three self-employed are happy with their work status, it is clear the majority are thriving in startup Britain. But there are workers who are missing out on over £1,000 a year because they should legally be official employees,” Ms Guy explained.
Employee status is often a grey area for workers, with the Department for Work and Pensions and HRMC among the government departments that have different definitions.
Citizens Advice is currently running its own self-employment campaign to raise awareness for better working conditions and regulations for the flexible workforce.