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Government proposes new day-one rights for workers


Last year Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts was commissioned by the government to undertake an independent review to consider the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations. The report was published in July last year and set out 7 principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market.

The Government has produced a detailed response to the Taylor report. The Good Work plan sets out stricter plans to enforce holiday and sick pay for vulnerable workers, as well as larger fines for businesses that fail to honour employment contracts.

Some of the main recommendations include:

  1. Enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time
  2. A list of day-one rights including holiday and sick pay entitlements for all including casual and zero-hour workers
  3. A right for all workers, not just zero hour and agency, to request a more stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts
  4. Ensuring all workers, including those on casual and zero hours contracts, will have a right to a payslip,

The Good Work plan focuses on three main areas which are designed to improve working conditions. These are strengthening and protecting workers rights, ensuring they are paid fairly and increasing transparency in the employment market.

Protecting workers rights

The government are looking at strengthening and protecting workers’ rights by:

  1. Take further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker;
  2. Introducing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards
  3. 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

Be paid fairly

They will also ensure workers are paid fairly by:

  1. Providing all 1.2 million agency workers with a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages
  2. Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hour contracts
  3. Considering repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates

More open working environment

They have also pledged for a more transparent business environment by:

  1. Defining ‘working time’ for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online so they know when they should be being paid
  2. Launching a task force with business to promote awareness and take-up of the right to request flexible working introduced in 2014
  3. Making sure new and expectant mothers know their workplace rights and raise awareness amongst employers of their obligations
  4. Launching a new campaign to encourage more working parents to share childcare through Shared Parental Leave – a right introduced in 2015

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

The Taylor Review said that the current approach to employment is successful but that we should build on that success, in preparing for future opportunities.

We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges.

We will take forward Matthew Taylor’s recommendations and commit to pursuing the quality of work as well as number of jobs.

The ‘Good Work plan’ puts the UK at the front of the pack in addressing the challenges and opportunities of modern ways of working, it is an important part of the Industrial Strategy and will enhance our business environment as one of the best places to work, invest and do business.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Employment are seeking the views of individuals and businesses to the Good Work plan, so this is the ideal opportunity for you to submit your thoughts and opinions on the proposals.

If you want to participate in the consultation the  government's full response to the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices is now available here and the four accompanying consultation papers can be found below:-


Joe Janda

HR Services Director