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Implementing the Taylor Good Work Report not going far enough?

While the government has set out a number of proposals to implement parts of the Taylor Good Work Report, it was not clearly reported in the press that there are actually no proposals for some of the key elements, only that consultations are being commenced, to seek views. These are in relation to:

  1. Changes to the law on employment status - that the case law principles that govern ‘employee’ status – namely, personal service, control and mutuality of obligation – should be codified in primary legislation.

  2. Enforcement of employment rights - the Government has accepted the Review’s recommendation that the state (through HMRC) should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers – NMW, sick pay and holiday pay – for the lowest paid workers.

  3. Protecting agency workers - a number of proposals address problems associated with uncertain hours and atypical working patterns, and the Government is intending to go further in this area than the Taylor Review proposed. Whereas the Review suggested that agency workers should be able to request a direct contract of employment after 12 months, and zero-hours workers should be able to request a contract giving guaranteed hours after the same period, the response states that all workers, not just specific groups, should be able to request a ‘more predictable contract’ where appropriate.

  4. Measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market, including consolidate guidance on the statutory protections that apply to pregnant workers and those on maternity leave, the potential benefits of making it easier for workers to trigger formal consultation processes with their employer, proposal to reform statutory sick pay, so that all workers are eligible regardless of income from day one and it accrues on length of service.

The proposals that are going ahead only relate to:

  • enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay ‘for the first time’

  • a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers

  • a right for all workers, not just zero-hour and agency, to request a ‘more stable contract’

  • taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker

  • introducing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards

  • quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000 and considering increasing penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases.

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