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Good Work From the Government's Taylor Report Response, or Must Try Harder?

View profile for Natasha Johnston
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One of the Prime Minister’s most memorable moments has been her assertion, made on the steps of Downing Street in 2016, that Britain should have a labour market and employment conditions that worked for all.

Fair working practices, a decent wage and quality and flexibility of work were put at the top of the agenda, with the commissioning of the Matthew Taylor Report setting in motion an investigation into working practices and conditions across the UK.

The Taylor report recommended far-reaching changes to employment law, with a particular focus on fixing some of the iniquities of zero hours contracts and the gig economy and in levelling the playing field for the self-employed when it came to sick pay and holiday pay.

The Government has now published its Good Work Plan - its response to the Taylor Report -  to address its seven principles for good quality work for all.

The immediate actions include:

  • Asking HMRC to prioritise the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage for unpaid interns
  • Looking at introducing a higher rate of National Minimum Wage for people on zero-hour contracts
  • More transparency in the workplace, to include extending the right to payslips to all workers, and to improve the quality of the information provided on payslips
  • Establish a naming and shaming scheme for employers who don’t pay employment tribunal awards
  • Cracking down on sectors where unpaid interns are doing the job of a worker
  • Quadrupling employment tribunal fines for employers who have shown malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000
  • Looking into repealing laws that allow agencies to employ staff on cheaper rates
  • Implement a task force with businesses to raise awareness of the right to request flexible working, alongside a campaign to encourage take-up of shared parental leave

The Good Work Plan also announces further consultations on:

  • Enforcement of employment rights recommendations
  • Agency workers recommendations
  • Measures to increase transparency in the UK labor market
  • Employment status -  To clarify the current employment status tiers of employee, worker, and self-employed, since this impacts upon workers rights

Employment rights and status can be complex and affects every one of us, whether you are an employee, self employed a job-seeker or an employer.  Therefore, this report and its ramifications, impact and weak spots will be picked over by HR professionals, legal professionals and commentators in the coming months.

We have robust employment laws in the UK and a relatively stable employment market. But, none-the-less, any intense focus upon, and any serious conversation about improving working practices and welfare for all at work is always welcome. The Good Work Plan whilst criticised by some will be widely viewed, I feel, as a good start. 

If you would like to discuss the contents of this article further, please feel free to contact Natasha Johnston on 01792 525478 or by emailing: natasha.johnston@jcpsolicitors.co.uk 

Natasha is a HR Advisor within JCP's HR Services team. The team provide outsourced HR support and ongoing advice and guidance to the firm's business clients. Natasha’s experience includes providing HR advice and guidance on complex HR issues such as attendance, grievance, capability and disciplinary matters.  Natasha can also provide advice and support on policy drafting and implementation, TUPE and Redundancy processes. 

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