Nye Cominetti

Is the minimum wage pushing people into self-employment?

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Two big changes in the labour market over the past two decades have been the rise in self-employment and the introduction and uprating of the minimum wage. Is there a connection between these trends? Legally, of course, there is no connection – the minimum wage applies to employees only. But economically, we would expect one. … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson

Union membership is rising again – but will it last?

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In 2018 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) celebrated its 150th birthday. Yesterday the government delivered a somewhat belated birthday present to the union movement in the form of new statistics showing that membership levels have risen significantly for the first time in almost two decades. Happy birthday TUC! In this short blog post, we provide … Continued

Nye Cominetti

All aboard the Millennial Express – longer commutes for less pay

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The ONS serve to uplift and depress analysts like me in equal measure. And today they served up the latter, with new figures showing that the number of people commuting for more than an hour to get into work has increased by almost a third (31 per cent) since 2011. Longer commutes are good news … Continued

Torsten Bell

Deeds not words – what we needed from the government’s response to the Taylor Review today

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Yesterday, Britain celebrated the success of the ‘deeds not words’ campaign that won women the vote. Today, we have something of the opposite in the government’s response to last summer’s Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. It’s not nothing, but those hoping for a bold new dawn in the rules that govern Britain’s labour market … Continued

We need to put the changing world of work back in the spotlight

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Angst over diminishing attention spans is widespread these days, with the reaction to Twitter’s expansion to 280 characters a case in point. That’s long been true in politics: even the most important of issues need a regular drumbeat to maintain public interest. And it certainly applies to the problems highlighted by the Taylor Review of … Continued

Workers on zero hours contracts hits a record high – but have they reached their peak?

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Workers on zero hours contracts hits a record high – but have they reached their peak? The UK’s labour market has been full of surprises in recent years: record employment has run alongside a record pay squeeze, while the passing away of the ‘job for life’ has been matched by a fall in people moving … Continued

Is self-employment Taylor-made for people with disabilities?

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Whatever your job, it’s been hard to escape self-employment lately. Whether it’s plumbers, couriers or drivers, the pros and cons of working for yourself have rarely been far from the headlines. The Taylor Review of modern employment practices has kept the flame burning, with its recommendations likely to have consequences for all sorts of workers … Continued

A-typical year?

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Atypical is an apt word for describing 2016. From the celebrity death rate to decisions at the ballot box in the UK and America that are fundamentally reshaping politics, there’s a definite sense of disruption. And so it was in the labour market. Granted, 2016 wasn’t the year when atypical working patterns broke into the … Continued

Torsten Bell

A big day in court for the gig economy – but just one of many until Parliament decides.  We need new technologies but old certainties too.

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Who exactly is self-employed? When is a worker not an employee? And how can you be an employee under employment law but not for tax law? These are difficult questions, reflecting the fact that the world of work is a complicated beast even before you start to think about how employment law, tax rules and … Continued

Britain’s self-employed workforce is growing – but their earnings have been heading in the other direction

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When people talk about “the self-employed”, there are a few images that spring to mind. Maybe it’s a white van man, someone running a small business or a freelance consultant. The growth of self-employment over the past decade and a half has been astounding. The 45 per cent growth since the turn of the turn … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson

Act now or shrink later: trade unions and the generational challenge

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Union membership to fall below one in five employees by 2030 unless current trends reversed The future should be full of potential for trade unions. Four in five people in Great Britain think that trade unions are “essential” to protect workers’ interests. Public concerns about low pay have soared to record levels over recent years. And, … Continued

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