News In Focus
Zero hours and agency workers to be given new rights
Workers on zero-hour contracts and agency workers will be given new rights under reforms announced by the UK Government today.
The "Good Work Plan" sets out how ministers will implement the recommendations of the Taylor review, which reported in July 2017. The Government previously announced that it accepted a great majority of the proposals, as it consulted on the best approach to implementtion.
Under the plans:
- all workers are to be given the right to request a more stable contact;
- the time required to break a period of continuous serviuce will be extended, to make it easier for employees to access their rights;
- the use of pay-between-assignment contracts, which enable businesses to opt out from equal pay arrangements between agency workers and permanent workers, will be outlawed;
- employers will be banned from making deductions from staff tips;
- workers will be entitled to a statement of their rights on the first day of starting a job;
- agency workers must be given specified information to help them make informed choices about the work they accept;
- differences between employment law and tax law for the purposes of determining employment status will be "reduced to an absolute minimum";
- the clarity of the employment status tests will be improved, "reflecting the reality of modern working relationships";
- stronger enforcement powers for protecting workers' rights will be introduced, and a new single labour market enforcement agency will "better ensure that vulnerable workers are more aware of their rights and have easier access to them and that businesses are supported to comply".
Business Secretary Greg Clark commented: "Today's largest upgrade in workers' rights in over a generation is a key part of building a labour market that continues to reward people for hard work, that celebrates good employers and is boosting productivity and earning potential across the UK."
The Government agrees with the review's conclusion that completely banning zero hour contracts would negatively impact more people than it helped.
However, Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: "The right to request guaranteed working hours is no right all.
"Zero-hours contract workers will have no more leverage than Oliver Twist."
Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, welcomed the right to request more predictable working hours, but warned that legislation to amend employment status rules "risks making the law less able to adapt to new forms of work in the future".
Click here to access the Good Work Plan document.