Tag: Industry

Ruling opens the door for gig drivers as drivers considered independent contractors

The California Court of Appeals ruled Monday that companies such as Uber, DoorDash and Lyft can classify their rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors under Proposition 22.

Theresa Rutherford, executive board member of SEIU California and President of SEIU 1021 commented: “The Appeals Court upheld the fundamental policy behind the measure — to protect the independent contractor status of app-based drivers in California while providing drivers with new benefits,” said a statement by the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services coalition.

“The right to join together in a union is the most powerful way for workers to challenge gig corporations’ exploitative business model that profits off of paying low wages and silencing its workers,”

“Today’s ruling opens the door to the possibility for gig drivers and delivery workers to transform their industry through a strong voice on the job,” Rutherford said. “However, the fact that these workers are still being denied the basic protections most workers have in California is a travesty.”

Proposition 22 came about after the California Legislature passed AB 5, which aimed to make it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.

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Finance, farming and transport hit hardest by pay cuts, according to Randstad research

Randstad’s latest analysis of the salaries of over 9,000 UK and Ireland workers, and data from 700 placed jobs, highlights the roles, industries, and demographics with the highest salaries or biggest drops over the last year.

The losers

According to the 2021 Randstad salary guide, Irish finance professionals were hit hardest, with part qualified group accountant seeing salary decline of -8%, followed by finance manager (-6%) and part qualified management accountant (-6%). In terms of sector, those working in agriculture and transportation saw the largest decreases in salary for new roles – reduced by 44% and 43% respectively. The East of England saw the biggest fall in remuneration as a region, with 28% changing jobs with a pay cut compared to just 14% in London.

The older demographic saw the biggest decline, with nearly half (48%) of 55-64-year-olds surveyed reported a decrease in their salary.

The winners

Demand for developers and specialist tech roles pushed their salaries up by 9%, according to Randstad’s Employer Brand Research (REBR), with the East Midlands the best region to find qualified tech workers. Despite the tech boom in the East Midlands, the West saw higher than average vacancies (up 11% overall) while the East fell to 2% below average.

HR assistant salaries rose by 6% in the North East and by an average of 4.5% across the North West, with salaries for other HR-related roles rising by nearly 3% on average across the country. London saw the biggest rise, with 15% of Londoners, across all sectors, received a pay increase of between £2,000 and £5,000 – and a further 15% reporting a pay rise of over £30,000 when switching jobs.

The three highest ranked roles by salary rise were: Software Developer (9%) followed by Marketing Assistant (7%) and HR Manager (5%).

Rise of the marketing assistants

With firms focused on competition, differentiation and positioning themselves for the upturn, marketing is in higher demand. Pay rises for marketing assistant roles now vary from a 1.5% increase to 13% in Yorkshire, to over 18% for newly qualified marketers based in the North-West of England. All marketing function roles in the UK have seen an average 5% increase on 2020 figures.

“With organisations over the past 18 months seeing a long list of changes — from new privacy policies, the accelerated digitalisation of brands, altered consumer behaviour due to the pandemic — marketers are working harder than ever, essentially, being asked to do more and with less,” said Adrian Smith, Senior Director of Operations, Randstad. “Acknowledging the importance of the central marketing function and the role it plays in supporting business objectives, the more junior marketers are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Not all about salaries

A new study by borofree highlights The importance of company benefits to attract and retain talent during a major talent shortage across all sectors has been highlighted in a new study from Borofree, a UK salary advance start-up that helps people avoid debt by providing free access to a proportion of their next pay cheque in advance.

The online survey of 2009 employed adults, conducted by Censuswide between 28th May – 2nd June 2021, found that 68% believe company benefits and perks have an important role in driving staff recruitment and retention. However, one in five of UK employees have had their packages reduced or cut completely in the last 12 months – including 28% of 16-24 year olds and 29% of those aged 25-34 years. As a result, 15% of 16-24 year old’s have considered leaving their job.

The study claims that employers are too focused on the short term and not enough on long term perks, with 25% of employees stating that they don’t think the perks being offered are relevant or tailored to them – such as fertility treatments or sailing trips – and 15% revealing they have never received any perks from the company they currently work for.

Benefits packages that provide financial wellbeing support are in highest demand, with pensions the most popular for a third of respondents but 18% want the option of being paid weekly and 14% want an interest free loan. “Too many companies approach company benefits as a PR exercise, failing to consider what’s going to make a real difference to their employees workplace wellbeing and happiness,” said Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree. “Evidently, the fads and outrageous corporate packages are no longer ticking the boxes for staff, who are looking for perks that are both relevant and useful for them.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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The Government has missed an opportunity to do away with the “Wild West” of the umbrella market by choosing not to move forward with amendments to the Finance Bill, according to some in the contracting industry.

The amendments, tabled by David Davis MP and supported by Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP and Andrew Rosindell MP, were described as having the potential to ‘curb or kill’ the umbrella industry.

Essentially, the two options proposed would have either shut down the umbrella industry, or made agencies liable for unpaid tax if they worked with non-compliant umbrella companies.

However, the amendments were not selected for a vote in parliament last night, despite impassioned speeches by Davis and Duncan-Smith in the House of Commons.

“The umbrella companies and their unacceptable practices have now become very clear,” Duncan-Smith told the house. “Contractors are being forced into schemes, being forced by recruitment agencies to use these umbrella companies that they do not wish to use and may be concerned about.”

He said workers were often misled by umbrella companies, and referenced both the recent BBC File on 4 expose on mini umbrella companies and also the Loan Charge issue.

“The people who will get hurt by all of this in the end when the Treasury finally decides to do something about it will be the people that were the victims of this, not those who set these schemes up,” he said.

‘Missed opportunity’

Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, who had been pressing for the changes and who also gave evidence to the Loan Charge All-Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry, said he was disappointed with the result.

“After considerable effort to attempt to shape reasonable amendments to the Finance Bill, it is disappointing that they were not selected to be voted on last night. Clearly, the Conservative majority would have been insurmountable and 40 rebels would have been required.

“The Treasury missed an opportunity to tame the ‘Wild West’ of the unregulated umbrella market and collect their £1 billion prize.

“The continued lack of regulation and impotence by the Government on this issue will only seek to fuel the non-compliance further.”

Crawford Temple, CEO of Professional Passport, expressed a similar view: “It is disappointing that after much considered and well-presented arguments by David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith last night the Government chose to dismiss the issues sought to be addressed.

“[Treasury Minister] Jesse Norman believes that adding enforcement to the remit of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) will address the issues of non-compliance in the umbrella sector. I would like to remind the Government that EASI is already struggling with its existing commitments of regulation so I fail to agree that tasking an already over-stretched body with the job of regulating umbrellas will change anything and that the Government’s solution will merely serve to incentivise and fuel more non-compliance across the market.”

Stamping out malpractice

While umbrella organisations had understandably been opposed to the calls from some politicians to scrap umbrella companies entirely, legitimate providers have backed calls for regulation of the industry.

The report that resulted from the Loan Charge inquiry exposed significant malpractice in the umbrella industry, including companies providing kickbacks to

agencies for recommending them to workers.

This had come at the expense of workers, whose pay and/or benefits were often skimmed, and also the Treasury, which lost out on tax revenue.

“The problem is the worse the level of malpractice in this process, the greater the rewards and kickbacks for the agencies, reducing of course the revenue for the Treasury,” Duncan Smith said in Parliament.

Malpractice also makes it harder for legitimate and compliant umbrella companies to compete, said Chaplin.

“There are umbrella companies that run a vanilla compliant operation, with no reward schemes for agencies, and which treat workers fairly with reasonable charges, but they find it harder to access the market, because they lack the financial firepower to purchase space on an agency’s Preferred Suppliers List – for which six-figure sums can be exchanged,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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