In December, the government set out its biggest package of workplace reforms in the last 20 years. Unveiled by Business Secretary Greg Clark, the new legislation package promised workers access to fair and decent work. It also provides more clarity for businesses on their obligations.
The changes are the response to an independent review of modern working practices led by the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Matthew Taylor. The Taylor Review highlighted the recommendations needed to reform modern work, including laws on self-employment. The Good Work Plan proposal includes a response to the Labour Market Strategy, eliminating the exploitation of low-paid workers.
The new legislation will:
- Close a loophole by repealing the Swedish derogation. This currently allows agency workers to work on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts.
- Extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers. It includes rights like eligibility for sick leave/pay and other types of paid leave (i.e. maternity and paternity).
- Quadruple maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5,000 to £20,000.
- Extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks. This will ensure those in seasonal or atypical roles will get their entitled paid time off.
- Lower the threshold required for a request to set up Information and Consultation arrangement from 10% to 2%.
Clarke: “The World of Work is Changing”
Following the announcement, Greg Clarke commented: “The UK has a labour market of which we can be proud. We have the highest employment rate on record, increased participation amongst historically under-represented groups and wages growing at their fastest pace in almost a decade.
“This success has been underpinned by policies and employment law which strikes an effective balance between flexibility and work protections, but the world of work is changing, bringing new opportunities for innovative businesses and new business models to flourish, creating jobs across the country and boosting our economy. With new opportunity also comes new challenges and that is why the government asked Matthew Taylor to carry out this first kind of review, to ensure the UK continues to lead the world, through our modern Industrial Strategy, in supporting innovative businesses whilst ensuring workers have the rights they deserve.”
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) also shared its views on the legislation: “Positioned as the largest upgrade in workers’ rights in a generation, the changes are largely designed to protect the most vulnerable workers: an ambition that APSCo wholly supports. However, the scale of the changes means that the professional recruitment sectors may be inadvertently impacted by the reforms – by an increase in burdensome administration if nothing else.”
Our changing world of work and the popularity of the gig economy means legislation still has a long way to go. The legislation seeks to prevent both workers and businesses from exploiting and being exploited by the system. We’ll be observing and reporting closely on this throughout 2019. So follow the Mango Pay blog for all of the latest insights regarding the evolving UK working landscape.