New legislative reforms proposed by Government to strengthen workplace rights.
On 17 December 2018, the Government unveiled a new set of workplace reforms aimed at better protecting workers. Those on zero-hour contracts and those working within the “gig” economy will benefit from a range of measures that will be coming into force from 6 April 2020 including:
- closing the “Swedish derogation” loophole which currently allows agency workers to be employed on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts;
- give workers the right to a written statement of rights on their first day including details of sick leave and pay and other types of paid leave such as maternity and paternity leave;
- extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks which will benefit those in seasonal or atypical roles.
In addition, the Government has indicated that there will be quadruple maximum employment tribunal fines from £5,000 to £20,000 for those employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight.
The Government is also intending to divert more resources to bodies such as the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate as well as putting in place a single enforcement body to ensure vulnerable workers are better protected.
This response from the Government is intended to deliver on many of the recommendations contained in the Taylor Review and is stated to address the “opportunities and challenges of the gig economy and the changing world of work”.
It will be important for employers to keep up with the changes proposed, particularly where these relate to positive changes needed in the information provided to workers and the way that workers’ rights, such as holiday, are calculated. Our Employment Team is on hand to offer further advice on these issues on 029 2267 5210.