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Jan 2019

Largest upgrade in workers’ rights in over a generation

The Government has named their proposals as one of the biggest recent reforms of employment law, with Business Secretary Greg Clark stating that the proposals are the “largest upgrade in workers’ rights in over a generation”. The proposals form part of the Government’s “Good Work Plan” which is the latest response to the recommendations made by the Taylor Review in 2017.

In brief, the key proposals are:

  • To change the rules on continuity of employment by increasing the allowed break between contracts from one to four weeks before interrupting continuity;
  • That all workers (not only employees) will have the right to a written statement of terms which will also contain additional information. An employer currently has an obligation to provide a written statement of the terms of employment within two months of the employee starting however, from 6th April 2020, a statement will need to be provided on the first day of employment;
  • A ban on employers making deductions from staff tips;
  • To repeal the ‘Swedish derogation’ in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which excludes agency workers from the right to the same pay as directly-recruited workers if they have a contract of employment with the agency; and
  • To quadruple the maximum fines handed out at employment tribunals to employers that have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5,000 to £20,000.

The Government confirmed earlier this year that it will provide additional support to workers, by giving them a right to request a payslip and, allowing all workers (including zero hours workers) to request a more stable contract with the intention of providing more financial security for those being offered flexible contracts. There is no doubt that these proposals will be welcomed by the 1.2 million agency workers.

The Government is yet to provide full details on the implementation of the proposals but the Government has advised that detailed proposals will be published in due course.

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