Theresa May has announced flexible workers will be given enhanced rights following a government-ordered review into modern employment practices.
The prime minister says millions will benefit from improved sick and holiday pay and the right to ask for stable contracts under the Good Work plan, formed in response to the Taylor review, carried out by former Tony Blair adviser Matthew Taylor.
Taylor’s report, released in July last year, was branded “feeble” by many union chiefs and employment lawyers. It called for “dignity in the workplace” The government says the plan will put the UK at the forefront of good practice in a changing economy. It will not include minimum pay requirements or a ban on zero-hour contracts, but the Low Pay Commission will be asked to “consider” higher minimum wage rates for those on casual contracts.
The proposal is built on three fundamental areas: protection, pay and transparency.
As well as addressing the Taylor Review’s recommendations, the government plans to go one step further by:
- Enforcing holiday and sick pay for vulnerable workers;
- Compiling a list of day one rights (like holiday and sick pay entitlements, and a new right to payslips for all workers) and ensuring they’re being delivered to all workers – including casual and zero-hour workers; and
- Providing all workers with the right to request a more stable contract – this would provide those on flexible contacts with greater financial security.
Here’s a breakdown of the other commitments included in the ‘Good Work Plan’:
In its release, the government said it plans to protect employees by:
- Making sure unpaid interns aren’t doing the duties of a worker;
- Starting a new scheme whereby it names and shames employers who don’t pay employment tribunal awards; and
- Increasing the penalty enforcement fine to £20,000 (which is four times the current rate) for employers who display malice, spite or gross oversight. It’s also considering increasing the penalty for employers who’ve already lost similar cases.
With regards to pay, the government wants to make sure all workers are paid fairly by:
- Providing all agency workers with a clear breakdown of who pays them, as well as any costs or charges that are deducted from their pay;
- Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact higher minimum wage rates could have on zero-hour contract workers; and
- Considering repealing laws that mean agencies can employ workers on cheaper rates.
In addition, the government will aim to increase transparency in the business world by:
- Setting out definitions of ‘working time’ for flexible workers who find jobs online or on apps, so that applicants know when they should be being paid;
- Promoting employees’ right to flexible working requests;
- Ensuring new and expectant mothers are aware of their workplace rights and their employer’s obligations; and
- Campaigning to encourage more working parents to share childcare though Shared Parental Leave.
For more information with regards to rights for flexible workers, contact a member of our team today. Our CIPD qualified consultants are on hand to provide additional support for you and your business needs.