The majority of self-employed workers in the UK say they don’t want any rights all, according to new research.
Eighty per cent of freelancers said they are not vulnerable workers and are happy being part of the ‘gig economy’, revealed the study by Contractor Calculator.
Of the 250 freelancers who took part in the survey, 88% do not want maternity/paternity rights and 82% do not want sickness pay and a quarter say they are insured and 80% use savings instead.
When it comes to holiday rights and pay, 85% shun them off, taking holidays around contracts or negotiating time off with clients.
Three quarters of respondents said they did not want to be forced into auto-enrolment of a pension, whilst 80% don’t want extra rights to help the grievances or disciplinary matters.
Almost all of the freelancers (94%) said they do not want any restrictions on hours worked and are happy to manage their own affairs.
The result was revealed in a survey conducted by the online platform that has become the expert guide for 100,000 freelancers and contractors every month since it was launched in 1999.
Dave Chaplin CEO and founder of Contractor Calculator said: “It is clear from the results of our research that freelancers and contractors love the gig economy and do not want rights.
“Government needs to understand that media reports associated with self-employed couriers and drivers who are part of the gig economy do not paint the full picture of self-employment. There are thousands upon thousands of the self-employed working on a business to business basis who are very happy with the way they work and the last thing they want is further legislative burdens. They do not see themselves as vulnerable workers.”
The results come as Uber drivers await the verdict of an employment tribunal which will decide whether they should be classed as workers rather than self-employed and should therefore be entitled to the same rights as employees – the minimum wage, sickness pay, holiday pay, a pension and other statutory benefits.
The survey results also signal a clear message to HMRC in lights of its plans to set up a new unit, the employment status and intermediaries team, to target the exploitation of the self-employed.
Mr. Chaplin added: “Under the Coalition and Cameron administration we have been used to seeing knee-jerk legislation that has applied abundant red tape on the small business sector. Government needs to understand and be very careful about how it decides to legislate and protect under paid workers who make up part of the low-paid gig economy without destroying the very valuable freelancer sector that underpins the UK workforce and economy. It is important that we protect low paid workers, but I would appeal to the Government not to ruin the freelance sector in the process. More red tape for freelancers will be sure to damage the economy and as we prepare to leave the EU these workers will be vital to the process.
“It seems that some firms are using the on-demand gig-economy to effectively suppress workers rights and pay them less than the minimum wage and these firms should be challenged about how they treat their workers and should be forced to treat them fairly and appropriately. But this simply isn’t the case for all self-employed workers - 78% of the freelance workforce have chosen to work this way, they want to be responsible for themselves and their businesses and they do not want rights. They should be allowed to get on with it.”