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Government proposals for “good work”

19 Dec 2018

Following on from the Taylor Review, the government have released their plans to ensure “good quality work for all” with a significant focus on part-time and flexible workers.

At present, the “Good Work Plan” is a list of proposals rather than a piece of legalisation. The main proposals are:

  • Providing a day one right to a written statement of terms and conditions for workers, including eligibility for sick leave, pay levels and maternity and paternity leave;
  • Increasing the reference period when calculating a weeks’ pay for holiday purposes from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
  • Streamlining the employment status test to avoid the misclassification of employees/workers as self-employed;
  • A right to request a fixed working pattern after 26 weeks of working on a non-fixed pattern;Ensuring all workers are provided with a clear breakdown of who pays them and any deductions from wages;
  • Changing rules surrounding the continuity of employment so that a break of up to four weeks does not interrupt continuity (the break is currently one week);
  • Increasing the penalty that tribunals can award for employer’s aggravating conduct;
  • Abolishing the “Swedish Derogation” which, in certain circumstances, allows employers to pay agency workers less than their own workers; and
  • A request to the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of a higher minimum wage for workers on zero hour contracts.
Tom Clarke

There has also been further case law developments on the ever-evolving topic of gig-economy workers. Following high profile cases relating to Uber and Deliveroo, the drivers for mini-cab company Addison Lee have been given ‘worker’ status, rather than being classified as self-employed contractors. The questions arose when three drivers claimed they were entitled to the minimum wage for the time they were “logged on” to the booking system, as it was deemed they were ready to accept paying fares. The decision follows in the general direction of the majority of recent cases on the matter where the law has found in favour of workers rather than the company in order to provide individuals with the rights and benefits that are associated with ‘worker’ status.

We shall of course update you with any further developments. In the meantime, it is good to be aware of the proposals and to begin considering their potential impact. Please let us know if we can assist you with this.

For more information on any of the above, or how we can help your business, please contact Tom Clarke, or call 0191 232 8345.