Interesting article from Professional Adviser:

Gig economy workers could boost the size of their pension pot by £75,000 if a form of automatic-enrolment (AE) were extended to cover all workers, according to research by the Pensions Policy Institute on behalf of Zurich.

The Restless Worklife study of more than 600 gig economy workers found that a typical 25-year-old, earning £25,000 could end up with a £75,600 lump sum at retirement if they saved 4% of their income.

The percentage contribution is based on on the Taylor review proposal which said workers should be able to contribute 4% of their income when completing a tax return.

When combined with the state pension, a typical gig economy worker would have an income at retirement of £13,500, the research found.

At present, there is no mechanism for auto-enrolling the self-employed into a pension, however, in October pensions minister Guy Opperman confirmed the plans for the self-employed as previously laid out in the Tory manifesto.

The government said it plans to expand auto-enrolment to the self-employed, though gave no further details on how it would do so.

The UK gig economy includes five million people, ranging from those who class themselves as self-employed through to 800,000 on zero-hour or agency contracts.

Of the current UK workforce of 32 million workers, this means one in six is currently a gig worker - with no or restricted access to workplace benefits - including pension saving.

Zurich head of customer distribution Chris Atkinson said: "Gig economy workers don't have access to a workplace pension, meaning millions aren't saving enough for retirement. It's time our 19th-century welfare system was overhauled for the 21st-century world of work.

"Using tax returns to extend auto-enrolment to the gig economy would be a step in the right direction, but it's no silver bullet and, on its own, is still unlikely to give individuals a big enough pot in retirement.

"The reality is that many gig workers may have to work far longer than even traditional employees before they can retire."

The report also revealed a protection gap among the self-employed. It found a mere 2% of gig economy workers have access to each of life insurance, income protection and critical illness insurance via their gig employer.

Additionally, it found more than half (53%) do not receive any benefits from the gig company they work for, and if they were to lose their regular income, almost a third (29%) said they would rely on state benefits, while 16% would feel compelled to sell personal possessions.