In an ever changing employment market, new business models and modern employment practices have raised questions about whether employment laws need updating, specifically in relation to employment status and the protections people should have.
Consequently, in July 2017, The Review of Modern Employment Practices (known as the Taylor Review), was published, making 53 recommendations aimed at delivering an overarching ambition: that all work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment.
The Government has now published its full response to the Taylor Review, along with four consultations setting out the action that the Government is proposing to take and is considering taking:
- enforcement of employment rights recommendations;
- agency workers recommendations;
- measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market; and
- employment status.
The aim is for people to be able to request more ‘more stable’ working arrangements and for there be tougher enforcement measures and penalties for employers who breach existing employment protections.
In recent times, employment status has been a changing and developing area of law due to the current ‘gig economy’. The increasing number of cases in the employment tribunal has succeeded in muddying the waters rather than providing clear guidance. There is no doubt that clarity and certainty via legislation is required.
In regards to agency and atypical workers, the Government intends to go further than proposed by the Taylor Review. This is as a result of uncertain hours and atypical working patterns. The aim is to allow workers to request a ‘more predictable contract’ where appropriate, to make it easier for people in atypical work to establish ‘continuity of service’, to provide certainty around what is regarded as ‘working time’ and to give clearer information as to rates of pay and who is responsible for paying workers.
The Government has accepted that the state, through HMRC, should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers, such as the national minimum wage, sick pay and holiday pay, for the lowest paid workers. The Government will also look at the way in which employment tribunal awards are enforced where payment is not forthcoming and penalties for employers who fail to change their practices following an adverse employment decision.
This is a small snapshot of what the Government intends to do in response to the Taylor Review. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-taylor-review-of-modern-working-practice