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The Good Work Plan – A much needed boost for workers’ rights or just another cost for small businesses?

 

The government published The Good Work Plan on 17 December 2018, setting out what it described as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years”. The plan, which builds on the government response to the Taylor Review recommendations, outlines a plan to legislate to improve working conditions for those working in the ‘gig’ economy. The vast majority of the changes, which are already supported by existing legislation, will come into force in April 2020.

The changes include a right for workers to request a more certain set of contractual terms, an increase in the period required to break continuity of employment from one week to four weeks and a ban on deducting staff tips from basic pay. The biggest change will come in the form of a firm commitment by the government to improve the legal tests for employment status. It has accepted the Taylor Review’s recommendation that differences between the status tests in employment law and tax law should be removed where possible. It is hoped that this much needed clarity will help businesses to reach the correct conclusion about the employment status of their workforce and any associated employment rights.

The government will also repeal the “Swedish derogation” in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which excludes agency workers from the right to equal pay with comparable direct employees. Finally, there are proposals to amend the Employment Rights Act to extend to workers a right to a basic statement of employment particulars and to expand the information which an employer must be provide in these statements.

The plan also proposes new measures designed to improve enforcement, including a process for publishing the names of employers who fail to pay tribunal awards on time and significantly increased financial penalties if they commit an “aggravated breach” of employment rights. The government will also bring forward proposals for a single labour market enforcement body with new powers and resources.

Whilst many of these changes are some way off, employers will need to carefully reflect now on their current requirements for these types of workers and whether their legal obligations can be fully met by April 2020.

For further information or advice on the The Good Work Plan or any other HR/employment law issue, call Henry Doswell of Doswell Law Solicitors on 01233 722942 for a FREE, no obligation chat. Alternatively, email Henry at info@doswell-law.com.

Disclaimer: Whilst every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary contained in this blog accurate and up to date, Henry Doswell takes no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it. The information and commentary in this blog does not constitute legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter.

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