The government has set out the biggest package of workplace reforms for more than 20 years.
With ambitious reforms to ensure the UK leads the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced new legislation to upgrade workers’ rights.
The package of measures take forward 51 of the 53 recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his review of modern working practices.
The new legislation introduced will:
•Close a loophole by repealing the Swedish derogation – which currently allows agency workers to be employed on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts;
•Extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers, going further to include detail on rights such as eligibility for sick leave and pay and details of other types of paid leave, such as maternity and paternity leave;
•Quadruple maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5,000 to £20,000;
•Extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks, ensuring those in seasonal or atypical roles get the paid time off they are entitled to;
•Lower the threshold required for a request to set up Information and Consultation arrangements from 10 percent to two percent.
As part of the reforms, Business Secretary Greg Clark said the government is also responding to the Labour Market Strategy set out by Sir David Metcalf, the director of Labour Market Enforcement.
The government’s detailed plans to tackle exploitation of low paid workers, include:
•Bringing forward proposals in early 2019 for a single enforcement body to ensure vulnerable workers are better protected;
•More resource for the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate;
•Creating new powers to impose penalties for employers who breach employment agency legislation like non-payment of wages;
•Consulting on Salaried Hours Work and Salary Sacrifice Schemes to ensure National Minimum Wage rules do not inadvertently penalise employers;
•Bringing forward legislation to enforce holiday pay for vulnerable workers.