30 September 2016

What about employment post Brexit – is anything changing?

Linked to the desire to address migration and promotion of a strong economy are new Government proposals on employment law. The first step will be the ‘Taylor Review’ that will look at employment practices in today’s economy. This will consider how practices need to change to keep pace with modern business models, and the implications of new forms of work. For example, an increasing share of the UK workforce has non-standard forms of employment arrangement including self-employment (4.8 million people)1, zero hour contracts (900,000 people)2 and temporary work (1.7 million people)3. There are overlaps between these categories, but taken collectively they represents around one in five workers.4 These changes are significant for businesses using non-standard employees to work on projects resulting in intellectual property, as the rights to ownership can be affected by
the employment status. For example, we are seeing growth of the so-called gig economy, where staff are semi-independent or working across a series of jobs termed ‘gigs.’

In these situations designers, musicians, and perhaps even researchers, might be working for others that in the ordinary course of business are your rivals. In the event they contribute to valuable intellectual property, are you sure your business will end up owning the rights you need? These are exciting times where the UK is trying to create a more flexible work force to encourage investment, but intellectual property will not be foremost in the minds of those conducting the Taylor Review, so you need to consider if we should be raising issues with that review to address the concerns of your business.

  1. ONS, UK Labour Market: September 2016.
  2. ONS, Labour Force Survey: Zero-hours contracts data tables, 8 September 2016.
  3. ONS, UK Labour Market: September 2016.
  4. ONS, UK Labour Market: September 2016.