The Government has published its 'Good Work' plan in response to the Taylor Review, published last year, which outlined "7 principles for good quality work for all" and focused heavily on part-time and flexible workers.
The proposal is that millions of workers will receive new rights under the 'Good Work' plan, which is part of the major Government reform to create better, higher paid jobs across the UK.
The Government has today confirmed that they will seek to protect workers' rights by:
- taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of workers;
- 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;
- ensuring that all workers are paid fairly by providing clear breakdowns of who pays them and any costs and charges deduced from wages;
- asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of a higher minimum wage for workers on zero hour contracts;
- considering repealing laws that allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates; and
- adopting measures which increase transparency in the business environment.
All but one of the recommendations from the Taylor Review have been accepted, and the Government has confirmed that it will go further than the Review's recommendations by:
- enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time;
- giving all workers a right to request a payslip; and
- allowing all workers (including zero hours workers), to request a more stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts.
The Government has yet to confirm when these changes will be implemented, but it has confirmed that four consultations will be launched seeking views on legislation for:
- enforcement of employment rights and recommendations;
- employment status;
- measures to increase transparency in the UK Labour market; and
- protecting agency workers.
It is to be hoped that any new measures flowing from the Good Work plan will provide greater certainty for employers and businesses, as well as for workers, and that they do not create significant extra expenditure or hamper flexibility in increasingly competitive global marketplaces.