On Wednesday (7 February 2018) the government released the ‘Good Work plan’ in response to the Taylor Review on good working practices. The plan sets out proposals to ensure workers know their rights and receive benefits that they are entitled to, including enforcing workers’ holiday and sick pay.
The plan also proposes the introduction of day-one rights such as holiday and sick pay entitlements, the right to a payslip and the right for all workers to request a more stable contract which provides more financial security.
The Taylor Review identified that current employment law provided insufficient clarity for businesses or individuals around employment status. The Government has launched a consultation with a view to making it easier for employers and their workforce to understand whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed.
The Government proposes to protect workers’ rights by:
• Taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing workers’ jobs;
• Introducing a name and shame scheme for employers who fail to pay tribunal awards;
• Quadrupling employment tribunal fines to £20,000 for employers who show malice or gross oversight.
The Government also proposes to ensure workers are paid fairly by providing a clear breakdown to agency workers, detailing who pays them and any costs that are deducted from wages; asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hour contracts; consider repealing laws that allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates; promote awareness of flexible working and Shared Parental Leave and ensure that new and expectant mothers know their rights.
The four consultations launched by the Government are:
• Enforcement of Taylor’s employment rights recommendations
• Agency workers recommendations
• Increasing transparency in the UK labour market;
• Employment status
Although this is being reported in the news as a seminal moment for workers’ rights, there are no proposals on specific changes to the law in relation to employment status. The ‘Good Work plan’ has simply set in motion the Government’s commitment to consult over workers’ rights and employment status.
It is unlikely that any changes will be forthcoming this year, not least as the Government is being kept reasonably busy dealing with Brexit!