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Citizens Advice responds to Business, energy and industrial strategy committee investigation into rights and treatment of non-permanent staff

26 October 2016

Citizens Advice has today responded to news that MPs have launched an inquiry into pay and working conditions in the UK to reflect growing concerns about the rise of casual employment, agency work and the informal gig economy.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“It is good MPs are to shine a spotlight on non-permanent work.

“As many as 4.5 million people are in insecure work, and while a lot of people value the flexibility that agency, casual and self-employed work can offer, some are taking these jobs as a last resort or are being shortchanged as they’re put on these contracts when they should be directly employed by the company.

“For many the knock-on effect is that they don’t have a steady income, meaning they go from one month to the next not knowing how much they will be paid. They can also lose out on holiday and sick pay.  

“We urgently need clearer rules around employment status, including a legal definition of self-employment. The government should also consider the introduction of an effective online test people could use which would determine whether or not they are self-employed.

“The independent review of modern employment will provide a welcome opportunity to tackle the challenges brought by insecure work. We are keen to share our evidence and expertise with the  business, energy and industrial strategy committee as well as Matthew Taylor’s review, so we can work together to find simple, enforceable solutions which balance the needs of workers, employers and consumers.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.