Gig economy: A Right to Work riddle?

In recent days the gig economy has come under the political spotlight again, with the announcement from Labour that they would give gig economy ‘workers’ full employment rights.

The question is how this impacts recruitment and employment legislation. In particular, when should organisations operating in the gig economy conduct Right to Work checks on workers?

In a recent poll, we discovered that only 42% of employers believe that a valid Right to Work check is required for gig economy workers. 25% were unsure.

With almost 5 million people working in the gig economy in the UK today, this is clearly an important question for employers.

Aware of the ever-increasing scale of the gig economy, the Home Office issued updated guidance last year to address these developments in the workplace and the grey lines that now exists between the definition of an ‘employee’ and a ‘worker’.

This UK Government guidance advises that organisations conduct right to work checks in all cases, for all categories of worker/employee.

‘Even if you are not the direct employer of the workers involved in your business, there are compelling reasons why you should seek to know that your workers have a right to work. If illegal workers are removed from your business, it may disrupt your operations and result in reputational damage. There could be adverse impacts on your health and safety and safeguarding obligations, as well as the potential invalidation of your insurance if the identity and skill levels of your workers are not as claimed. Accordingly, you should check that your contractors conduct the correct right to work checks on people they employ. You may also wish to use this guidance when you use workers who have a genuine self employment status.’

By its very nature the gig economy is fast paced from a recruitment perspective, with very high levels of staff turnover. The requirement to undertake these checks may seem a burden and bureaucratic. However, technology holds the key. Just as technology has empowered the gig economy, it is now fuelling a transformation in compliance.

Rightcheck streamlines and digitises the process of conducting right to work checks. A compliant right to work check can be conducted on individual within a minute, via the recruiter’s mobile device.

What’s more, Rightcheck also provides the organisation with GDPR compliance it needs when handling sensitive documentation such as passports and birth certificates – no more risky scanning, photocopying and paper admin.

If your organisation is operating in the gig economy contact us now to find out how we can help you comply with Home Office legislation, saving precious time and money in the process.