THE LABOUR party has outlined measures for introducing sick pay for workers in the gig economy, as part of its plan to win back core voters.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner announced the charter yesterday, describing it as “the minimum” workers could expect after working through the pandemic.

Today Labour said the “new deal for working people” would provide an extra 6.1 million workers eligibility for statutory sick pay, who currently do not receive it as they are classed as self-employed or who are genuinely self-employed.

Andy McDonald MP, shadow employment rights and protections secretary, said: “Millions of workers are in insecure employment with low pay and few rights and protections, particularly key workers whose efforts got the country through the pandemic.

“A lack of basic rights and protections forces working people into poverty and insecurity. This is terrible for working people, damaging for the economy, and as we have seen throughout the pandemic, devastating for public health.

“We need a new deal for working people. Labour would ensure that all work balances the flexibility workers want with the security they deserve.”

Under Labour’s plans, three separate legal statuses of employment, each of which have different rights under the law, would be rolled into one status of “worker” and given the same rights.

The party cited figures from the Office for National Statistics, which suggest 4.2 million self-employed workers, including gig economy workers, do not currently qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, alongside 1.9 million people who are currently employed but cannot claim it.

Under Labour’s plans these 6.1 million people would be offered rights including sick pay, National Minimum Wage entitlement, holiday pay, paid parental leave, and protection against unfair dismissal.

The Opposition party would also aim to remove “qualifying” probationary periods for workers starting new jobs so these rights would be available from the first day of a job.

It comes after several some high-profile court cases for workers in the gig economy, such as some taxi drivers and food delivery riders who argued they were entitled to the minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay and should be classed as employees.

In July, the Court of Appeal ruled that Deliveroo riders are not workers and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining rights.

In March, the Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers should be classed as employees and as such should be entitled to the minimum wage, paid holidays and other rights.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, announced the party’s jobs plans yesterday at a co-working space in London.

She was supposed to be joined at the event by leader Sir Keir Starmer, however the MP was forced to abandon the session as he is currently isolating due to coronavirus.

Ms Rayner was asked about her own party’s current financial situation, which has left some staff being asked to volunteer for redundancy.

She said the party would “never” condone fire and rehire tactics,

Labour will not and will never support or endorse or take fire and rehire as an acceptable process.

“We are in the devastating circumstances where we have lost general elections and we have lost resources as a result of that, and our organisation has to change.

“At the moment we are asking people to take voluntary redundancy and change the way we do our work like any organisation goes through those times.”

She added: “It is very worrying for our staff who are going through that process. But we want to make sure that the Labour Party is in a very lean, fit position to go forward to win the next general election.

Conservative Party co-chair Amanda Milling said: “It was this Conservative government that introduced an unprecedented furlough scheme, paying the wages of 10 million workers and saving jobs through the pandemic.

“We’ve increased the National Living Wage, giving 2 million workers a pay rise as well as taking millions of the lowest paid out of paying income tax.”