Last month the UK Government published its Good Work Plan, a package of workplace reforms, which outlined its vision for the future of the UK labour market. These reforms were made based on the recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his review of modern working practices and the so-called gig economy.
Consequently, the government has pledged to implement 51 of Taylor's suggested 53 reforms. These reforms will now become a key part of the Government's modern Industrial Strategy.
Some of the planned reforms will include:
- extending from one week to four weeks the time required to break a period of continuous service;
- introducing legislation that will reduce the problem of businesses misclassifying their staff by improving the clarity of employment status tests;
- giving all workers a right to request a more stable working pattern if they have already worked over 26 weeks on a non-fixed pattern;
- creating a legal obligation on Employment Tribunals to consider the use of sanctions where employers have lost a previous case on broadly comparable facts;
- making it unlawful for employers to make deductions from staff tips; and
- placing employers under a legal duty to provide specific information to agency workers.
New Regulations coming into effect soon
The Government has also now set out regulations to give legal effect to some of the planned reforms outlined in its Good Work Plan. These regulations are:
The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018
- The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 Regulations will give employees the right, from the moment they commence employment, to a written statement of particulars of their employment. However, some of this information can be provided separately within two months. Employees having commenced their employment before 6th April 2020 will have the right to request a written statement and to be notified of changes to terms included in any additional information. These regulations will also extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks. This will ensure that seasonal workers receive the paid time off which they are entitled to. These regulations will come into force on 6th April 2020.
The draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019
- The draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 will increase the maximum fine an Employment Tribunal can impose on an employer from £5,000 to £20,000 if the employer has displayed aggravated conduct such as gross oversight, malice or spite towards the claimant. These regulations will also reduce the threshold for requesting an information and consultation procedure from 10% to 2% of total employees. They will also extend the right to a written statement of particulars of employment to 'workers'. These changes will come into force from 6th April 2019.
The draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2018
- The draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will amend the existing legislation to close what is now seen as a loophole which, subject to very specific conditions, allowed agency workers to be paid at a cheaper rate than permanent employees who perform the same role in certain circumstances. These regulations will take effect from 6th April 2020 and will close this loophole which was commonly referred to as the Swedish derogation.
Get in touch
The publication of the UK Government's Good Work Plan demonstrates the pace at which employment law will evolve over the coming years – especially after the UK leaves the EU where the Prime Minister has committed the government to not only maintain workers' rights but enhance them. As a consequence of this, employers will need to ensure that they position themselves so they can effectively manage the introduction of these proposed reforms.
If your business would like support and advice in relation to these proposed reforms then please contact a member of our team.