Pensions - Articles - Comment on ONS figures and rights for the gig economy

Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon comments on John McDonnell’s announcement today that Labour would extend the rights for people working in the gig-economy and ONS employment figures published today:

 “In recent years the world of work has been changing with an overall rise in self-employment in recent years, and in the number of individuals working in the gig-economy. We welcome the announcement today that a Labour government would work to restore the balance of working rights for those who work in this fast-growing employment sector. These workers often face low and irregular pay, as well as a lack of workplace rights.

 “A common misconception is that gig-economy workers are in their 20s and have more pressing concerns than saving for a pension.

 However, as this form of flexible working becomes more common, it’s vital that a means of helping people to save for later life is not overlooked. The self-employed are effectively excluded from auto-enrolment, and unless a solution is found soon, they are at risk of leaving themselves short of money in retirement. Giving gig-economy workers the rights to workplace benefits such as holiday pay and sick leave is a welcome move, but without the right to a workplace pension, which could turn out be the most valuable benefit of them all, is short-sighted.”

 Commenting on ONS employment figures, Kate Smith said: “Today’s ONS labour market figures paint a mixed picture of the world of work in the UK. While the number of people in employment continues to increase, it is concerning to see that this is being driven by the older generation with the number of people aged over 65 years in employment more than doubling in the past 12 years. Despite an ageing population, it is interesting to see that more people are reaching retirement age and choosing to remain in work.

 “While many are choosing to transition into retirement, some may find that they simply cannot afford to retire and are having to opt to stay in employment. Individuals should look ahead and plan for their retirement years, considering whether or not they want to remain in work past state pension age and working out how much money they will need to live on in retirement. The alternative to this is that we may well see the number of those working past retirement age continuing to rise, not out of choice, but out of financial necessity.”


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