May welcomes ‘Good Work Plan’ to improve worker rights
The government is set to launch its ‘Good Work Plan’ to keep employment laws up-to-date with the changing world of work in the modern economy.
It follows recommendations made in the Taylor Review of working practices and it is hoped that millions of workers will benefit from the reforms.
The government will seek to protect workers’ rights by:
- taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker
- introducing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards
- quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000 and considering increasing penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases.
The government says it will ensure workers are paid fairly by:
- providing all 1.2 million agency workers with a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages
- asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hour contracts
- considering repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.
The government will increase transparency in the business environment by:
- defining ‘working time’ for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online so they know when they should be being paid
- launching a task force with business to promote awareness and take-up of the right to request flexible working introduced in 2014
- making sure new and expectant mothers know their workplace rights and raise awareness among employers of their obligations
- launching a new campaign to encourage more working parents to share childcare through Shared Parental Leave – a right introduced in 2015.
In some cases the government plans to go further than the review’s proposals, including:
- enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time
- a list of day-one rights including holiday and sick pay entitlements and a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers
- a right for all workers, not just zero-hour and agency, to request a more stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We recognise the world of work is changing and we have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes, enhancing the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to do business.”
We shall keep clients aware of developments.
Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.