mortlock charlotteThe Good Work Plan is the government's response to the Taylor Review which was published last year. Charlotte Mortlock, senior associate in our employment team looks at the response and its key changes.

 

As outlined in our previous article, the Taylor Review looked at modern employment practices and staffing structures and made suggestions on changes which need to be made to bring employment practices up to date.

In particular, the Taylor Review focussed on the 'gig economy' and the impact which that has had on the world of employment.

In the Good Work Plan, the government have set an intention to act on all but one of Taylor's 53 recommendations. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, they don't intend to revisit the issue relating to the difference between the National Insurance contributions of employees and the self-employed. However, in other areas the government intends to even go further than that suggested by Taylor. It should be noted, though, that this is a "plan" and isn't a change in the law on employment status (at least not yet). The government have announced that there will be further consultations (four in fact). As part of the Good Work Plan, the government intends to go further than Taylor's recommendations by:-

  • Introducing 'day one rights' for workers in the gig-economy (including sick pay and holiday entitlement);
  • Introducing a right to request a more stable contract for all workers, including zero hour workers (although what this will mean in practice remains to be seen);
  • Introducing a new right to a payslip for all workers (including casual and zero-hour workers);
  • Providing help for workers to enforce their rights in relation to sickness and holiday leave and pay; and
  • Defining 'working time' for gig-economy workers to ensure they know when they will be paid.

The government has made clear its intention for the UK to be one of the first countries to address the changing world of work and the challenges which our modern economy brings. In particular, the aim is to ensure our employment laws and practices keep up with the rapid technological change and the impact on the world of work. In addition, the government have set out other intentions, not so linked to the gig-economy but still part of Taylor's recommendations, which include:-

  • Introducing a 'naming and shaming' scheme for employers who don't pay tribunal awards;
  • Making sure new and expectant mothers know their rights;
  • Launching a new campaign to encourage working parents to share childcare through shared Parental Leave;
  • Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider introducing a higher rate of the national minimum wage for works on zero hour contracts;
  • Making the government accountable for good quality work as well as quantity of jobs – which is a key ambition of the UK's Industrial Strategy, a long term plan to ensure Britain is fit for the future;
  • Taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker.

No dates have been given for the further consultations, but the expectation is that, subject to those consultations and the outcome, we will then see changes in the legislation. The four consultations will focus on:-

  1. Measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market;
  2. Enforcement of the recommendations made in the Taylor Review in relation to employment rights;
  3. The issues surrounding employment status;
  4. Protecting agency workers.

Clearly, the decision to take this forward by way of further consultations will delay the actual impact of any of the changes recommended by the Taylor review and in light of the current climate and focus on Brexit, it may take some time for changes to be implemented. The case law continues to evolve on the issue of employment status and the government's response today doesn't get us any further with that. We will be keeping a close eye on developments in that area and report on it as judgments are given.

Whilst some commentators have suggested that the Good Work Plan doesn't go far enough, we wait to see what the outcome of the consultations will be. If, as is suggested, this could lead to a huge overhaul of our employment laws, it is certainly worth the time and consultations to ensure the changes are in the best interests of our modern workforce whilst also addressing the needs of businesses operating in the current global market. Read the government's press release.

To learn more please contact Charlotte on charlotte.mortlock@footanstey.com or +44 117 9154666.

Tags: Employment and Pensions


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