COMMONS

Online forum: Future world of work and rights of workers

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee wants to hear about your experience of work and employment conditions in connection with our inquiry on the future world of work and rights of workers.

Get involved

If you have experience of agency work, being self-employed, working casual hours or in the gig economy, we want to hear from you.

Please answer one or more of the following questions below:

  • Are there general issues around terms and conditions in your work that you'd like to comment on?
  • If you're a casual or agency worker or work on a zero-hours contract, do you feel the balance of benefits between you and your employer is appropriate? If not, please let us know how and why not.
  • Do you work 'flexible' hours (for example, you or your employer chooses which hours you work each week)? If so, do you like the flexibility of how you work or does this cause problems for you?

You don't need to provide any information that could be used to identify you, but if you could explain your circumstances and employment status it would help us to understand who is being affected by these issues.

Comments will be used to inform the Committee's thinking on this issue. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Any allegations made against specific individuals or companies may be edited to remove identifying information before being posted.

Image: iStockphoto

Future world of work and rights of workers

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Before posting your comment please read the terms and conditions relating to the use of this web forum. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Please contact [email protected] if you experience difficulties using this forum. Please note that your comment will not be treated as formal written evidence to the Committee and will not be protected by Parliamentary Privilege.

136 Responses to Future world of work and rights of workers

Rosie says:
March 12, 2017 at 08:12 PM
I am a supply teacher and hate the zero hours arrangement since it is not a contract. I had an operation recently and couldn't work for three months but could claim no sick pay from the agency. They often dock pay if I am delayed in traffic and no work is guaranteed.
Sue says:
March 12, 2017 at 06:07 PM
I worked as a house-to-house care worker for 3 months (from December 2016-March 2017. I asked for 25 hours per week which I was given. We had to work every 2nd weekend. One issue was that we were only paid 40p per hour for travel time between jobs (which I am sure brought the hourly rate to below £7.20 per hour. The second issue was that, after working for approximately 3 weeks, I contracted a virus on Christmas Eve. I felt really ill and my throat was quite raw. I phoned 111 (for the nhs phone service - think that was the number). I wanted to know if it was a bacterial infection and whether I needed antibiotics. After going through questions with me, they said it was a virus. I really wanted to go home but felt that, as I was new to the job, I couldn't leave my shifts. I phoned my care work company to let them know I had a virus (as, in their training they stated that if a worker had a virus, they should not come to work for 48 hours as we were working with vulnerable old people). On phoning, my supervisor did not tell me to take time off but just said ok. I worked Christmas Eve and Christmas day with this virus.
Edward McGeown says:
March 03, 2017 at 04:20 PM
Agencies and Employers using agencies to supply temporary workers are forcing temporary employees to register with umbrella companies,whether the individual wants to or not.The temporary worker ends up more often than not being bogusly classed as self employed,pays a margin to the payroll company to recieve a payslip which is a web of deceit,and has deductions for employer and employee NI ,and also through this bogus enforced self employment the temporary worker is stripped of any employment rights like holiday pay,supply of ppe etc.This is being driven by employers,who are dictating to the agencies,who in turn offload the temporary employees onto the umbrella company.Companies and Agencies do not seem to have any wish to pay contributions to the government and see this as a way not to do so,offloading the responsibility onto the hard pressed worker.Its utterly Immoral
Hosting says:
March 02, 2017 at 02:19 AM
Our future place of work might not be an open plan office, but interconnected workspaces not tied to one place, but many. They will be underpinned by virtual conferencing, complete and constant connection and portability.
Joe says:
February 26, 2017 at 04:00 PM
Please, please consider taking action to ban the use of ‘umbrella’ companies by job agencies. They seem to be using them to offload their responsibilities, as employers, for things such as calculating your pay and paying the Employers National Insurance contributions, pension contributions and holiday pay.
I am currently finding that the only work I can access is through agencies where I have no choice but to be paid through an ‘umbrella’ company or to not be offered any work at all – they all seem to use this method now. In my case I was not even told about how I would be paid until after I had accepted work.
These ‘umbrella’ companies are the worst type of payment method for employees / workers I have ever come across as the umbrella company wins all the way to the bank with no costs to themselves.
They deduct their fee (in my case £20 per week, although I have come across £30 per week being charged), the Employer’s National Insurance Contribution, the Employer's Pension Contribution and a payment towards later paid holiday (collectively called ‘Company Deductions’) from the employee’s agreed pay to give a revised gross pay for the employee. The employee who has already had substantial deductions (in my case over £100 per week) then has to pay his usual deductions of Employee’s National Insurance and Income Tax. It seems that someone who simply wants to work now has to pay on-going charges to be able to work or not be offered a job. Why should I or anyone else be paying the employer’s liabilities and fees – I am not employing myself after all. Because my net pay was so low after all of these deductions I could not meet my usual household and get to work travel obligations and so had to opt out of the pension scheme and holiday scheme to increase my pay a little as I simply could not live on the money I was paid – so no future pension and no chance of any holiday days at all.

In the past I have worked as an employee, employed directly by a company with the usual deductions and as an agency worker where I was correctly paid through PAYE with holiday and sickness pay entitlement, and although the agency pay was lower I did not feel that I was being scammed.
Ellis says:
February 26, 2017 at 02:14 PM
There are general issue around my terms and conditions of work that's not apt. I work with a facility company that's very hostile to its workers. being a night job, there is no allowance for it, 8 hours shift was reduced to 7:30 hours with unpaid 30min break.
Its a zero hour contract and the balance of benefit between me and my employers is inappropriate.
As an agency/self employed worker they tell you, you don't have rights and can be sacked at anytime and it happens all the time, they just tell you to go home without warning and that's it. During winter they don't provide the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (Gloves)to work with, we work under excruciating conditions, you can imagine cleaning outdoor in a depot with water in winter,
My employers decide my shift even against my availability and wish and if I complain, my shift is always reduced, for a low pay job, you can imagine if your shift is reduced. Discrimination is the order of the day, there is much discrimination against the agency workers and the permanent workers. When i go for course, I pay for it.
I am in a helpless situation,the issues are countless i am being used, bullied, , oppressed and discriminated against.I don't mind to give The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee a verbal evidence if called upon.

Thanks
Edward Barr-Sim says:
February 26, 2017 at 11:55 AM
There is a degee to which the gig economy was hugely beneficial for me, namely in the fact that my working hours were enormously flexible and fitted around my other job very well.

However I was never given sick or holiday pay. I was not compensated for bike repairs. I was not able to charge my own prices. If I ran my own business, i.e. if I were truly self employed, then all of these would be adjusted however I am utterly powerless when it came to bargaining with Deliveroo. I earnt £2000 in my first 3 months and spent £500 on bike repairs. That left me well below minimum wage.

I kept up the job for a year because it suited my lifestyle so well, but when I got sick around Christmas and nearly couldn't pay rent the penny dropped. We need a lot more protection. We are not self employed. The longer employment waits to catch up with the gig economy the more people are being exploited.
Andy dowsett says:
February 26, 2017 at 09:27 AM
I have been a self employed courier for 15 years, but in the last 5 years or so the bully boy tactics of the management of the courier companies we are contracting for has become so one sided we have no working rites whatsoever, Basically they do what they want with self employed couriers, we have had to put up with money being taken from our invoices for the warehouse being untidy which has nothing to do with us, We had money taking off us when diesel costs went below £1.00 a litre, but sadly this has still not been giving back to us even though diesel is now back up to an average of £1.22 a litre.
We get phoned up sometimes up to 3 days a week saying your services are not required today, again nothing we can do about this
When we do work we can not set the route out the way we want as the company sells sevices to companies on timed deliveries pre 9am 10am 12 am etc, How are we classed as self employed when we work to these rules, we are also required to wear there companies badge at all times
Ian. says:
February 20, 2017 at 06:12 PM
I have been working on a "self employed" basis for the last two and a half years. In this time I have worked for three different companies. The first encouraged me to be paid via a Ltd company, for which I was put in touch with an accountancy firm who set it all up. During the 18 months I worked for this company I had no control over when or where I worked, I had a company vehicle, company tools, phone, tablet and logo'd clothing all provided by them. I had an manager who I reported to. In no way did I feel self employed, I couldn't have a day off sick otherwise my co worker also had to have the day off, we also had to take the same holiday (unpaid).The whole self employment thing was done so the client could avoid any employer responsibilities. They have over 2000 workers all working in Telecoms for the largest Telecoms provider in the UK. My contract with them was ended by them as they had lost the contract for the work stream I was on, I was given a weeks notice but as I was due to go on holiday that week effectively I had two days notice. I have just started working for a different company that sub contracts to the 2nd largest provider in the UK. The job advert stated that the job was permanent and gave an hourly rate and a 40 hour week. On getting the job it transpired that I would be working through an umbrella company with rolled up holiday pay and only on a three month contract. It also turns out that on days when they have no work for me I wont get paid.
It is high time that these big national companies were forced to employ people properly instead of getting their profits boosted by utilising poor employer practices.
It is the HMRC and the workers that are losing out to this scam.
Constance Victoria Kirk-Hayes says:
February 20, 2017 at 02:41 PM
I am employed as a live in carer, working on a two week live in and one week off, shift basis.
One of the most problematic of issues are our finishing times. The goal posts are continually moved by the employer, especially when it becomes apparent they have actually forgotten to send a carer to change over shift with. If carers phone to enquire what time a carer is due, we get told that our 'handover can be anywhere from 10.00am to 14.00. We are made to feel we are at fault for enquiring, yet experience has led us to do this as on a number of occassions they have told us lies and they haven't even sent a carer, which means the carer who should finish would have to stay on shift.
The employer does not realise that not knowing who, what time, or if anyone is coming, also affects the client that we look after. She becomes anxious.
Not knowing what time we are due to finish also prevents us making appointments for what should be our first day off shift.
Break times have also been problematic. I had actually been told by my employer that Live in carers were not entitled to breaks. This followed me querying the issue with her after District Nurses were horrified that we were not getting breaks, and told me that doing 24 hours meant that we should get at least 2 hours proper break away from the client. In the last 18 months I (5 or so years after my query)have received a new contract which stated that carers were to work only 8 to 10 hours and it is down to the carer themselves to get their breaks. Therefore my employer lied to me.
The knock on effect of not getting adequate breaks, is making mistakes due to being tired, emotionally and physically. This can of course lead to mistakes in giving medications, short temperedness and a great deal of stress.
Annual Leave is another problem area. Again, with my employer, the goal posts have been moved to suit them. At one stage I had to hunt out my contract, which my employers had a copy of anyway, as they would not believe me when I told them my contract stated that I got days en lieu for Bank Holiday days I worked. They actually told me that I must have got mixed up with my daughter's contract (as she worked as a community carer for the company at the time) as community carers got days en lieu but live in carers did not. I sent them a copy of my contract with the relevant section highlighted.
At the present time I am again in communication with my employers regarding accrued Annual Leave. 3 years ago when the same issue arose, I was told I got 23 days leave for the shift pattern I work. Plus now I get Bank Holiday days in lieu. They are now trying to say that I get less than this.
I have previously spoken to ACAS and my Union and been told how to work my leave out. However, I don't understand the way my employer works out leave days as it differs from how ACAS and the Union work it out.
I guess the real problem is that we as Live In carers,do not know our rights, so our employers can lie to us as mine have done.