Taylor Review – the Government’s response
The Government has just published its response to the Taylor Review which last year looked at modern employment practices and what might need changing to keep up with how business is done today.
Has the Government announced sweeping changes?
Some press reports suggested that there had been sweeping changes but that is not the case. What has actually happened is that the government has published new consultations on key aspects of the Taylor review covering an increase in transparency, defining employment status, enforcing employment law rights, proposals for new and enhanced workplace rights and protecting agency workers.
We have set below some more information:
1. An increase in transparency
The Taylor Review recommended that workers should receive a written statement of their key rights on day one. The EU at the end of last year adopted a proposal for a new Directive that promised more transparent and predictable working conditions.
The Directive would also provide for workers who provide work on an ad hoc basis to meet demand to have reasonable notice of their hours and any restrictions. The Directive has more in it including that if an employer fails to provide information on the employment relationship then it could possibly be deemed to be a full-time position or an open-ended relationship.
This Directive could become law before Brexit happens.
2. Employment Status
The government is consulting on how to provide greater clarity on what an individual’s employment status is i.e. are they an employee, worker or independent contractor. This may involve establishing a key set of criteria from which the correct status would then apply and/or codifying the key principles derived from case law.
This will be a wide ranging and complex consultation and there are unlikely to be any immediate changes.
3. Enforcing Employment Law Rights
The government is consulting on naming employers who do not pay tribunal awards, ensuring that interns are paid the minimum wage. Considering state enforcement of rights to sick pay and holiday pay and increased penalties in tribunal where behaviour on the part of the employer has certain aggravating features. This could increase the current penalty where an employer has acted with malice or spite from £5,000 to £20,000.
4. New and Enhanced rights
There is a proposal to extend to all workers the right to receive on day one a written statement of terms and conditions. The government will also consult on whether to introduce a new stand alone right for individuals to bring a claim for a failure to have a written statement.
Other proposals to be consulted on are to increase the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, a change on how continuous service is calculated and a right for all employees and workers to request a change to a more predictable and stable contract.
There will also be a review of agency workers.
There are no immediate changes that employers need to worry about but this is a good heads up on how things are likely to change. It may be good practice for all employers to start getting into the habit now of issuing contracts from the day an employee starts work.
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