The Taylor Review: ISM statement

This week, the government has published a review into working practices. The Taylor Review, led by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of the Arts, has made seven key recommendations (see notes for editors.) This independent review considers the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:

‘So often we have come across situations where ISM members are treated as ‘self-employed’, losing out on holiday pay, sick pay and other employment benefits and protections when in reality they should be treated as employees.

‘The recommendations of the Taylor Review therefore represent a step in the right direction, but how far remains to be seen. Relabelling the current category of ‘worker’ as ‘dependent contractor’ will not necessarily reduce tribunal cases simply to determine a working person’s employment status.

‘We note the concerns of the TUC and others about the new ‘dependent contractor’ status and its potential impact on minimum wage legislation, too. With tribunal fees ranging up to £1,200, access to justice to determine employment status and to establish the right to be paid a minimum wage comes at a very high price.

‘We call on the Government to ensure that the recommendation to promote the ‘worker’s voice’ will result in something meaningful and substantial. We also call on the government to reduce or eliminate tribunal fees immediately to promote musicians’ access to justice.’

Notes for editors:

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s fastest growing professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests of all musicians. Today we support nearly 8,000 members with unrivalled services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.

We have always been a wholly independent, not-for-profit organisation, allowing us to lobby Government as a united voice for music. We welcome musicians from all areas of the profession including thousands of performers, composers, educators, sound engineers, producers, industry professionals, academics, music therapists and administrators from all genres and musical backgrounds.

About the Taylor Review

The review, led by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of the Arts, has made seven key recommendations.

They are:

Good work for all

  • The review suggests a national strategy to provide good work for all "for which government needs to be held accountable"
  • It takes the following into consideration when it talks about "good work": wages, employment quality, education and training, working conditions, work life balance and consultative participation and collective representation
  • Everyone should enjoy a "baseline" of protection and be given routes to enable progression at work

Dependent contractors

  • It suggests people who work for platform-based companies, such as Deliveroo and Uber, be classed as dependent contractors
  • Individuals who prefer flexible working should be allowed to continue but they should be granted fairness at work
  • There should be a clear distinction made between dependent contractors and those who are legitimately self-employed

National Living Wage

  • The National Living Wage is "a powerful tool" to raise the financial base line of low paid workers
  • Strategies must be put in place, particularly for low paid sectors, to make sure workers do not get stuck on this rate of pay
  • Individuals must feel that they can make progress.

Cost of employment

  • The government should avoid further increasing the "employment wedge", which is the non-wage costs of employing a person. The review highlights the apprenticeship levy as an expense companies have raised as an issue
  • The government must provide additional protections for dependent contractors.

Good corporate governance

  • The government does not need national regulation to provide good work
  • It says companies must practise responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within the organisation.

Developing skills

  • Everyone should feel they have realistically attainable ways to strengthen their future prospects at work
  • Individuals should also be able to develop their skills through "formal and informal learning" as well as "on the job and off the job activities."
  • The UK needs to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health which will benefit companies, workers and the wider public interest.