A major review of working practices will today call for more protection for people employed in the so-called "gig economy", but has stopped short of recommending sweeping changes that some campaigners and trade unions have been pushing for.
The Matthew Taylor review, commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May, says employees working for online platforms are the most likely to suffer from unfair treatment, and that businesses need more incentives to treat such workers fairly.
The paper argues that improving working conditions will require more responsible corporate governance, rather than more regulation.
Launching the review today, May will pledge to ensure workers in all forms of employment are protected.
The review will not propose heavy regulation of companies offering flexible work. It will propose handing gig-economy workers a status of a "dependant worker", which reportedly entails providing holiday and sick pay if requested.
Taylor will not call for a ban on zero-hours contracts or advise for gig economy workers – who may be paid per job, rather than per hour –to be guaranteed the minimum wage, according to reports.
“The principle of the review is sound and some of the issues raised are absolutely vital, but the reality is businesses don’t need reams more legislation to contend with," said Simon Whitehead, employment lawyer at HRC law.
“The key now is to find practical ways to deliver both fairness and flexibility, with a focus on employee relations, not just legal reform," said Neil Carberry, CBI managing director for people and infrastructure.
“Businesses would be concerned by any proposals that risk creating unintended consequences, for example encouraging the creation of short-hour shift jobs by redrawing the rules on employment status and minimum wage.”
Peter Cheese, chief executive of HR professional body the CIPD, said: “Work can, and should, be a force for good, for individuals, organisations and society. We’re pleased that the Taylor Review has started from this perspective, understanding the different ways people work, the different forms of working relationship in today’s world, and describing a set of over-arching principles."
The GMB union said it was "disappointed" with the outcome of the review and that is was a "missed opportunity".