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EU warned against legislating

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The EU has been warned to hold back on introducing legislation to cover independent workers.

Last week saw the leaking of a green paper which discussed protection for the growing number of workers – such as contractors and the self-employed – who fall outside traditional working arrangements.

But business pressure group the Forum of Private Business has warned that giving the green light to further regulation would damage the flexibility of contractors and the self-employed.

The green paper did not set out any specific legislation but aimed to set up a debate on the issue.

Reacting to the paper, Martin Smith, the FPB’s European spokesman said: “We welcome the Commission starting a debate in this area.

“The traditional employer-employee dichotomy is not as dominant as it once was with many different forms of employment relationships emerging. We also welcome the fact that no further legislative proposals are signalled in this paper.”

But he warned: “We must be careful that the Commission does not fall for any of the inevitable calls for further legislation in this area, resulting from its recognition of independent workers.

“Professional contractors themselves are not pushing for any further protection. On the contrary, they believe it would restrict their freedom.”

He also encouraged the Commission to primarily consult stakeholders directly affected by these issues, such as business groups and organisations representing independent workers.

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