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The Benefits of Regulated Recruitment Vs. The ‘Gig Economy’

Regulated recruitmentAs a leading recruitment consultancy in Basingstoke, Priority Appointments is proud to meet and exceed the Recruitment and Employers Confederation (REC) Code of Professional Practice and comply with all employment regulations.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about the ‘gig economy’. It was originally hailed as a model of work that could deliver flexibility and freedom from red tape for both employers and those seeking employment alike.

Gig Economy Issues and Risks

In February this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) issued a report on the Employment and Labour market. The report estimates that 15% of the British labour market is now self-employed, with an estimated 5 million people classified as ‘gig workers’.

Despite the numbers using online work platforms, several recent media reports have shown that there are negative aspects to this unregulated sector of the employment market. There have been high-profile court cases in the taxi, courier and delivery markets in particular which have taken much of the shine off this form of resourcing.

Earlier this year, the government commissioned the Taylor report into this area of the market. However, concerns are now so great that in July, former work and pensions committee chair, Frank Field MP urged the Government to stage an ‘emergency intervention’ to protect gig economy workers.
What It Means for Employers

‘Gig economy’ platforms are completely unregulated, with individuals inhabiting a grey area of the market outside conventional employment legislation. For sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, driving or healthcare, where safety is a key concern, using staff via unregulated ‘gig’ platforms poses a serious risk.

By contrast, employing temps through a professional recruitment consultancy offers both employers and workers a regulated framework. The market is overseen by the Director of Labour Market Enforcement and regulations are enforced by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate.

Under the terms of the regulations, consultants must:

  • Provide written contracts for agency workers
  • Not charge a fee to those seeking employment
  • Not withhold any wages or monies due or make unlawful deductions
  • Not stop a worker from seeking work elsewhere

Choosing a Regulated Recruitment Partner

Recruitment consultants like Priority Appointments, which are members of the Recruitment and Employers Confederation (REC), also have to comply with its guidance and can be investigated by the body and disciplinary action taken if they are found to be in breach.

For employers, the risk of using gig economy platforms is great. In addition to potentially breaching EAS Inspectorate regulations, it is easy for employers to fall foul of anti-slavery regulations enforced by the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority. You can read more about this important set of regulations and find out how to write a Modern Slavery Policy for your business in our Employer Advice article on Modern Slavery.

It won’t be long before the powerful Health and Safety Executive also gets involved in this debate. In an article in the Financial Times in September, a spokesperson for the Executive is reported as saying that the “changing nature of employment is an area we are following closely in order to identify and explore possible health and safety impacts”.

Making a Wise Choice

So whilst the status of workers in the gig economy remains unclear, it is a wise choice for employers to choose a recruitment partner which knows their market sector and local business area, and which can demonstrate compliance with all regulations.

Priority Appointments is a member of REC and adheres to all employment regulations, as well as following the REC code of professional conduct.

If you are looking to fill jobs in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire, please get in touch to find out more about our services.

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