Employment law reforms on the horizon
The Government has announced a series of proposed changes to employment law. The announcement takes forward recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his Review of Modern Working Practices, published in July 2017. We reported earlier on the Government’s response to that Review.
The Good Work Plan was published this week and was hailed by the Government as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years”. The key proposals are:
- A right for workers (rather than just employees) to be given a written statement of terms and conditions, which must be given on the first day of work (rather than within two months of work starting);
- A right for workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service. For example, a zero hours worker who tends to work at least 30 hours a week may request a contract that guarantees at least 30 hours a week;
- Extension of the current rules on continuity of service. Currently, a gap of a week in employment can break continuity of service. This will be increased to four weeks;
- Abolition of the Swedish Derogation, under which agency workers can be paid less than direct recruits under certain circumstances;
- A ban on employers taking fees or other deductions from staff tips;
- Introduction of legislation to improve clarity on employment status, reflecting modern working practices;
- An increase in the reference period for determining an average week’s pay for holiday pay purposes from 12 weeks to 52 weeks;
- A requirement on employment businesses to provide agency workers with a Key Facts Page, to include information about the type of contract, minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid, any deductions or fees that will be taken and an illustrative example of what this might mean for their take-home pay;
- Publishing the names of employers that do not pay Employment Tribunal awards;
- Increasing the maximum penalty for an “aggravated” breach of employment law from £5,000 to £20,000.
Regulations have already been published in relation to a number of these proposals, which will come into effect on 6 April 2020. Unfortunately, however, there is still no real detail from the Government about how it will introduce clarity on the issue of employment status.
20 December 2018
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