63% of gig economy workers believe government should regulate to enable access to benefits

Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents who work in the gig economy think the government should regulate the gig economy to guarantee them basic employment rights and benefits such as holiday pay, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Its To gig or not to gig: stories from the modern economy report, which surveyed 5,019 UK adults aged between 18 and 70, also found that 34% of gig economy worker respondents are confident of having enough savings or a big enough pension to live comfortably in retirement, compared to 21% of respondents in more traditional employment.

The report also found:

  • 50% of gig economy worker respondents believe gig economy firms should have an obligation to provide an occupational pension scheme for the people they engage to provide services.
  • 70% of gig economy worker respondents agree that gig economy workers do not have the same financial safety net as traditional employees, and 50% believe that those working in the gig economy make a decision to sacrifice job security and benefits in exchange for greater flexibility.
  • 30% of respondents who work in the gig economy are saving through a workplace pension plan, 16% are saving through a private or personal pension plan, and 35% are not currently saving for their retirement at all. Among respondents in more traditional forms of employment, 57% are saving into a workplace pension, 5% into a personal pension, and 27% are not saving for retirement at all.
  • 52% of respondents who work in the gig economy never or occasionally feel stressed as a result of their work, compared to 46% of other respondents.
  • 32% of respondents who perform gig work do so to boost their income, and 14% take on gig work because they cannot find alternative employment.
  • Only 25% of respondents working in the gig economy state that gig work is their main job.
  • 57% of gig economy worker respondents believe that gig economy firms are exploiting a lack of regulation for immediate business growth.
  • 60% of gig economy worker respondents are satisfied with the amount of flexibility they have to decide their working hours, compared to 44% of respondents in more traditional forms of employment.
  • 51% of gig economy worker respondents are satisfied with the level of income they receive from gig work, and 36% of respondents in more traditional forms of employment are satisfied with their level of pay.

Peter Cheese (pictured), chief executive at the CIPD, said: “This research shows the grey area that exists over people’s employment status in the gig economy. Our research also shows many gig economy workers are permanent employees, students, or even the unemployed who choose to work in the gig economy to boost their overall income.

“Our research suggests that some gig economy businesses may be seeking to have their cake and eat it by using self-employed contractors to cut costs, while at the same time trying to maintain a level of control over people that is more appropriate for a more traditional employment relationship. Many people in the gig economy may already be eligible for basic employment rights, but are confused by the issue of their employment status.

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“It is crucial that the government deals with the issue of employment status before attempting to make sweeping changes, else they risk building foundational changes on shifting sands. We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to wait for the Taylor Review before looking to make any changes in tax levels. We would like to see a full consultation on the complex issue of employment status, which explores whether it is possible to have greater clarity and consistency on this issue across employment, tax and benefits.”

“We need better guidance for employers on atypical working, setting out the key principles of good work and responsible employment and the HR and people management practices that underpins this.”