In July 2017, Matthew Taylor released his Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices report which examined how new ways of working, such as the ‘gig economy’ and mobile applications, were impacting worker rights. The review contained a number of principles for the provision of good, quality work and also set out numerous recommendations for the government to make amendments to current rights, responsibilities and enforcement powers to ensure workers were receiving their rights.
Following the publication of the report, the government said they would carry out a full review and set out their response in due course. After the response was delayed from late 2017 to early 2018, the government has now announced the publication of the ‘Good Work plan’. As part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the plan will ensure workers have knowledge of their rights and entitlements, whilst allowing action to be taken against organisations who fail to provide the correct rights.
The ‘Good Work plan’ accepts nearly all of Taylor’s recommendations, except those relating to National Insurance contributions, but is said to go further than the proposals in certain areas. The government has confirmed the introduction of new day-one rights for all workers, including the right to holiday pay, sick pay and a payslip. All workers, including zero hours and agency workers, will also have a right to request a more stable contract; although this is just a right to request, and not to receive. Additionally, the Low Pay Commission will be asked to assess whether a higher minimum wage for zero hours workers can be introduced. These steps will provide workers in uncertain roles with greater financial and job security.
The government intends to create additional enforcement powers against organisations who fail to provide their workers with the correct rights. This includes introducing a new ‘naming and shaming’ scheme where organisations who fail to pay tribunal awards will be publicly named. Higher penalties against organisatons who have previously lost a similar tribunal case will also be considered.
Many of the main areas of concern for workers and organisations have been left to future consultations, including a consultation on enforcement of employment rights, such as sick pay and holiday pay, and a consultation on employment status. Status is currently seen as one of the most uncertain areas and the government will be asking interested parties to consider the options available to make this issue easier and clearer, such as introducing new legislation. Once the consultations have closed, the government will then have to take further steps to put these proposals in to effect, meaning any future changes are likely to be many months away.