The Demos think tank is calling for contractors and other flexible workers to be provided with a higher minimum wage than those with secure employment.
At present, the Government’s National Living Wage pays £8.21 an hour for workers aged 25 and over. For younger workers, the National Minimum Wage is currently set at £7.70 an hour for 21-24 years olds and £6.15 for those aged 18-20.
In a report financed by Natwest bank, Demos highlighted a lack of a safety net for self-employed workers don’t receive the same protections that regular workers do when it comes to employment benefits such as sick pay and maternity cover.
They believe that a higher rate would help protect workers from some of the risks that they face as a result of unsecured earnings.
Demos also believe that another body rather than to Government should oversee employment benefits, similar to the Ghent system and how countries like Denmark currently operate.
Under those schemes, workers in these countries voluntarily join unemployment schemes and, after having contributed to them for a certain amount of time, can enjoy fairly generous unemployment insurance, amongst other key benefits.
Report author Ben Glover said: “Self-employed workers are not protected by the safety net that many of us take for granted, from sick pay to maternity cover.
“This bargain is only fair if self-employed people earn enough to cover the additional risk they take on, but too often in Britain today this is simply not happening. That’s why we are calling for a new, higher minimum wage for the self-employed.”
The think tank is also calling for training to be provided by the Government and banks on managing finances when being self-employed, as well as automatic pension contributions given.
Samantha Randall an employment law expert with Palmers, said: “This is just one of a number of proposals offered to the Government to help protect the millions of self-employed and contracted employees in the UK.
“If you require help and advice with any aspect of employment benefits then it is important that you seek specialist advice.”
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