What is it about?

In recent years, there has been a concern that employers are falsely classifying employees as self-employed to evade collective agreements and labour laws (e.g. minimum wages, working time legislation and protection in case of redundancy), and the result is that these dependent self-employed suffer poorer working conditions. The purpose of this paper is to provide an extensive evaluation of the working conditions of those in dependent self-employment compared with the genuine self-employed. To do so, data are reported from a 2015 European Working Conditions Survey of 35,765 workers in 28 European Union member states

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Why is it important?

Of the 4.3 per cent of the working population found to be in dependent self-employment, the finding is that they have similar working conditions to the genuine self-employed in terms of their physical and social environment and intensity of work. However, they have poorer job prospects and less ability to use their skills and discretion than the genuine self-employed. In terms of the working time quality, meanwhile, the finding is that they have better conditions than the genuine self-employed. Therefore, this analysis uncovers the need for a more nuanced understanding of the relative working conditions of the dependent self-employed


Displays that the working conditions of the dependent self-employed are not universally worse than the genuine self-employed on all indicators.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Evaluating the working conditions of the dependent self-employed, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, November 2019, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/ijebr-07-2018-0445.
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