Spotlight report on self-employed workers

In response to COVID-19, the Institute for the Future of Work has conducted a fast turn-around series of interviews with union representatives, self-employed and contract workers, and agencies from across the UK, with a particular but non-exclusive focus on the logistics and transport sector.

The objective was to understand how risks for workers and the public are currently being managed to inform a policy response.

Key findings:

  • Many self-employed and contract workers are reporting that they cannot afford to stop work and self-isolate to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • Delivery work entails a high level of human contact. Drivers are concerned that their work involves a higher risk of exposure to their families and dependents.
  • Repayment on loans for insurance of vehicles alone often exceed Statutory Sick and Universal Credit payment values, which risk workers spiralling into debt.
  • Higher levels of risk are managed by individual workers with little or no support. COVID-19 policies adopted by agencies are focused on employees, and tend not to extend the self-employed and contract workers.
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Institute for the Future of Work

Publication type



Changing work

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