Government's “Good Work Plan”
Thursday 3rd January 2019
The Government has published its “Good Work Plan” in response to consultation conducted following The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.
Industrial Strategy Council
The Government’s Industrial Strategy places equal emphasis on both quantity and quality of work with five underlying principles; work satisfaction, fair pay, participation and progression, safety and security, and voice and autonomy. A new Industrial Strategy Council will monitor the Government’s success in delivering this strategy.
New regulations effective from April 2020 will reduce the percentage threshold required for a valid employee request to negotiate an agreement on informing and consulting from 10% to 2%, but the 15-employee minimum threshold will remain.
The Government has stated its intention to prepare detailed proposals aimed at aligning the employment status framework for the purposes of employment rights and tax obligations. This will mean defining employment status tests in legislation. There will also be improved guidance and online tools, designed to help provide a clearer understanding of employment status.
Terms & Conditions of Employment
From April 2020, the right to a written statement of particulars will be extended to include all workers, with most information to be provided no later than the first day of employment. The particulars will include not only details of working hours, but the days of the week the worker is required to work, whether the hours or days may be varied and how such variations are to be determined. The duration and conditions of any probationary period will need to be confirmed and details of all benefit entitlements provided. Workers will also be given details of all available paid leave, including maternity, paternity and shared parental leave.
The Government intends to give all workers the right to request a more predictable and stable contract. To ensure greater protection for casual workers, the Government will also legislate to preserve continuity of employment where any gap in employment is less than 1 month, instead of a week.
Regulations repealing “pay-between-assignment” contracts (known as the Swedish derogation) will come into effect in April 2020. Designed to provide reassurance during periods where there were gaps in work, they allowed workers to exchange their right to be paid the same as their permanent counterparts in return for a contract with an agency guaranteeing some pay between assignments. There is now evidence that rather than benefiting from these contracts, workers are being kept on very long-term contracts without a right to equal pay.
The Government will work with business groups to prepare guidance on the format for a mandatory “Key Facts Page” for agency workers, which will set out minimum rates of pay, how, when and by what entity they will be paid, any deductions or fees to be taken and estimated take home pay.
From April 2020, the reference period used to calculate holiday pay for those with variable pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
From April 2019, the maximum aggravated penalty awarded by ETs be increased from £5,000 to £20,000. ETs may need to consider the use of certain sanctions where an employer has lost a previous case with broadly comparable facts.
The Government will enable increased state enforcement on behalf vulnerable workers where there is an underpayment of holiday pay or where agency workers have pay withheld or unlawful deductions are made.
Further, the Government has outlined plans to create a new single labour market enforcement agency, which will be tasked with increasing aware of employment rights and providing compliance support for businesses. Detailed proposals will follow early in 2019.
All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.