Seven months after the Taylor Review in July 2017, the Government has published a press release in response.
In its response, the Government claims that millions will “benefit from enhanced rights” and that the “UK will become one of the first countries to address the challenges of the changing world of work in the modern economy”.
But what’s actually changed?
Most agree that the press release doesn’t introduce anything new legally. In fact, further consultations are due from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and no timeframes have been provided. Four consultations are expected in total, which will cover enforcement of employment rights, agency workers, increasing transparency in the labour market, and employment status.
According to the release, which gives no specific detail on its legislative agenda, the Government intends to do the following things:
- enforce vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay
- introduce a right to request a more stable contract (including for zero-hour workers)
- introduce a right to request and receive a payslip
- ensure that unpaid interns do not carry out workers’ duties without remuneration
- introduce a name-and-shame scheme for employers who don’t pay tribunal awards
- ensure expectant mothers are fully aware of their workplace rights
- request the Low Pay Commission to consider increasing the rate of national minimum wage for zero-hour worker.
All the announcement has done, in practice, is reiterate how the law currently stands. So, for the time being, at least, the issue of employment status and the gig economy remains unresolved, as we await the Government’s full response, and a conclusion to the upcoming consultations.
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The government has promised an overhaul of employment rights to improve conditions for millions of workers, including those in the gig economy. The changes include stricter enforcement of holiday and sick pay rights, and higher fines for firms that breach contracts or mistreat staff. It is a response to last year's Taylor Review into working practices. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the measures would "address very clearly" the rights of those in insecure work. He told the BBC that very often a worker did not have the ability to challenge or force a company to follow the law. "We will be enforcing the rights that people have and are entitled to," Mr Clark said.