UK Government’s “Good Work Plan” – Vision for the future of the UK labour market

February 19, 2019

The key proposals show how the Government intends to plug gaps in the overall employment law regime.

The Government has set out its vision for the future of the UK labour market in its ‘Good Work Plan’, published in December 2018, following Matthew Taylor’s review of modern working practices and subsequent recommendations.

The Good Work Plan is largely just a list of proposals without many date commitments and is perhaps not the huge upgrade to worker rights that was promised. However, it seems that things are generally moving in the right direction and the key proposals below show how the Government intends to plug gaps in the overall employment law regime:

 

From April 2020:

  • It’ll be easier for atypical workers to prove continuity of service as the qualifying break in service period will be extended from one week to four weeks. This is designed to help those who, by the nature of their intermittent work, find it difficult to build up employment rights.
  • All workers (not just employees) will be entitled to receive a statement of terms from day one, setting out the key particulars of their employment. This should help to increase transparency and understanding in the workplace.
  • The Swedish Derogation, which enables employers to pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances, will be abolished.
  • The threshold required for a request to set up information and consultation arrangements will be reduced from 10 per cent to 2 per cent.
  • The reference period used for calculating holiday pay for workers without fixed working hours will be increased from 12 weeks to 52. This should help to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the level of “normal remuneration”.

 

Other unscheduled plans include:

  • Employers will no longer be able to make deductions from staff tips so that workers receive all of the money that customers leave for them.
  • A “name and shame” scheme will be introduced whereby the names of employers who fail to pay Employment Tribunal awards will be made public.
  • Zero hours and agency workers will be to request a “more predictable and stable” working pattern after 26 weeks’ service. However, the plan does not suggest that there will be any obligation on employers to agree to such a request.
  • The Government plans to introduce legislation which will streamline the employment law and tax law status tests. This should help to prevent misclassification of individuals in the workplace although, Taylor’s recommendation of introducing another category of worker (a dependent contractor) seems to have been ignored.
  • The maximum penalty that employment tribunals will be able to impose on employers for aggravated breaches of the law will be raised from £5,000 to £20,000.

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