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Worker Status Update – The Good Work Plan

14 January 2019

The law relating to employment status and the gig economy is continuing to develop. On 17 December 2018, the Government confirmed its intention to introduce various legislative changes in its latest response to “Good Work”, the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices which was published in July 2017.

Embodied within the newly-published “Good Work Plan”, the proposals intend to increase protection for agency workers, zero-hours workers and other atypical workers.

Such changes (which have not yet been timetabled) include:

  • Clarifying the test of employment status upon which eligibility for worker rights is contingent
  • Aligning the employment status tests applicable to the entitlement to employment rights and tax liability respectively
  • Entitling all workers to a written statement of rights from “day one”, including details of eligibility for sick leave and pay and other types of paid leave
  • Increasing to four weeks (from one week) the period required to break continuity of employment for the purpose of accruing employment rights
  • Preventing employers from making deductions from staff tips
  • Repealing the “Swedish derogation” in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which excludes certain types of agency workers from the right to the same pay as directly-recruited workers
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal.
  • Improving the enforcement of worker rights, including:
    • Quadrupling the maximum employment tribunal fine from £5,000 to £20,000 for employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight in breaching employment rights
    • Introducing a single enforcement body to ensure vulnerable workers are better protected
    • Creating new powers to impose penalties on employers which breach employment agency legislation
    • Bringing forward legislation to enforce holiday pay for vulnerable workers

Whilst the Government has trumpeted the Good Work Plan as the most substantial reform of employment law in 20 years, critics point out that for most of the proposals there is no date or commitment to legislate. We will have to wait and see what steps the Government takes next – and when. They are, after all, somewhat distracted at the moment.

For further advice on Employment Services, please call us on 01483 543210 or alternatively email David Ludlow davidludlow@barlowrobbins.com

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