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08th February 2018

Consultation on changes to employment law

The government has announced that it intends to implement many recommendations contained in the independent Taylor Review through its Good Work Plan. The Plan forms part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, which is a long term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy, by creating better, higher paid jobs across the country.

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was published last year after having investigated modern employment practices. The Review made 53 recommendations, and the government has pledged to act on all but one of the recommendations, in some cases going further than particular recommendations. The government does not intend to act on the Review’s recommendation to reduce the difference between the National Insurance contributions of employees and the self-employed.

The reforms aim to provide new rights for millions of flexible workers and improve conditions for those in the ‘gig economy’. All workers will be given the right to demand more stable contracts and the right to demand a pay slip. Workers will also receive a list of their day-one rights, setting out their holiday and sick pay entitlements. The government will define ‘working time’ for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online, so they know when they should be being paid.

The Good Work plan will also involve:

  • Ensuring unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker.
  • Naming and shaming employers who fail to pay Employment Tribunal awards.
  • Quadrupling Employment Tribunal fines for employers who show malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000. The government is also considering increasing penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases.
  • Promoting awareness of the right to request flexible working.
  • Ensuring that new and expectant mothers know their workplace rights, and that employers know their obligations.
  • Encouraging more working parents to use Shared Parental Leave to share childcare.
  • Providing agency workers with a clear breakdown of who pays them, and what costs and charges have been deducted from their wages.
  • Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider introducing a higher rate of National Minimum Wage for workers on zero hour contracts.
  • Looking into repealing laws which allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.

Notably the plan does not deal with any changes to the law on employment status following several recent decisions where those who were considered to be self-employed were held to be workers. However, a separate consultation will be launched into employment status, along with three further consultations on enforcement of employment rights recommendations, agency workers recommendations and measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market.

For more information please contact Nick Hall on 01604 463375 or click here to email Nick.