Millions Of Workers To Receive New Employment Rights From First Day In A Job
The Government has today responded to last year's Taylor Report into working practices.
Published in July by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, the independent review concentrated particularly on the so-called gig economy of part-time and flexible workers.
The government says that nearly all the recommendations of the Taylor review will be adopted, adding that it will be going further by enforcing holiday and sick pay entitlements, giving all workers the right to demand a payslips and allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts.
Ministers are also asking the Low Pay Commission to consider a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts and says it may also repeal laws that allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.
Commenting on the Government’s response, Matthew Taylor said: "I welcome the range of specific commitments to improve the protections and rights of workers and to enforce those rights more strongly. On important issues, including pay for variable hours workers, employment status and representation of workers I welcome the direction indicated today, but there is more work to be done to encourage the Government to be bold in living up to its commitment to good work for all."
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The Taylor Review said that the current approach to employment is successful but that we should build on that success, in preparing for future opportunities. We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges."
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady added: "The government has taken a baby step - when it needed to take a giant leap. These plans won't stop the hire and fire culture of zero-hours contracts or sham self-employment. And they will still leave 1.8 million workers excluded from key protections.”
A consultation will be launched to identify whether new laws are needed to simplify the status of workers (i.e. if someone is an employee, worker or self-employed), an issue which has led to a series of Employment Tribunal cases in recent years
Expert Opinion“Some recommendations in the Taylor Report, such as requiring payslips for all workers, are easy to implement and it is encouraging that the Government has reacted positively to these. There is, however, no indication when changes will be made. The more complicated issues such as determining or redefining the status and rights of gig workers will be subject to future consultations so, at best, we are all at the start of a long process of change in the law. This still leaves a lot of uncertainty.
“One immediate issue that stands out is that the Government’s intention to ‘enforce’ vulnerable workers’ rights to holiday and sick pay. Whilst workers can bring claims in the Tribunal, many were deterred by now abolished fees, or the fear of losing their jobs if they raised the issue with their employers. Matthew Taylor suggested that HMRC should become responsible for enforcing payment of holiday and sick pay in much the same way as it does for underpayment of the National Living/Minimum Wage. This is logical and welcome however, it won’t necessarily achieve what it says on the tin. A report published in December 2017, identified each year at least 2 million workers experience non-payment of wages or holiday pay and that those unpaid wages amount to at least £1.3 billion per year. The scale of this problem is huge.”
Melanie Stancliffe - Partner