The Good Work Plan
The Good Work Plan is the Government’s reaction to the findings of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, first published in 2017. The Taylor Report recognised the changing landscape of the UK employment market and whilst acknowledging that “full time, permanent work remains the norm” it also identifies that there is a range of “atypical”, flexible work that includes self-employment, part time work, zero-hour contracts and the “gig economy”.
The report states “UK’s labour market is currently looking strong, and that flexibility is likely to have played a role in its current success, there exist a number of factors that could lead to poorer outcomes at the individual level”.
The key messages were to value flexibility, define more clearly in law what “quality work” is and at a policy level introduce measures to increase “fair and decent” jobs for all.
The Good Work Plan “commits to a wide range of policy and legislative changes to ensure that workers can access fair and decent work, that both employers and workers have the clarity they need to understand their employment relationships”.
Good Work Plan Legislation changes
- Enhances protection for agency workers and ensuring equal pay rights, particularly in “pay between assignments” contracts.
- Ban employers from making deductions from staff tips.
- Clear definition of employment status.
- Individuals will be entitled to their contract and explicit statement of terms upon appointment.
- Increased level of penalties at Employment Tribunals.
New rights and protection for individuals
Due to misuse of the flexibility of the current labour market by a minority of employers, individuals will know have extended rights and access to clearer information.
- After 26 weeks of service with the same employer, individuals can “request a more predictable and stable contract” and will be eligible to receive such. The request “might be (for) greater certainty around the number of hours a person receives, or fixed days on which they work. This will empower workers and give them greater control over their own lives”
- Extension of “continuous service”. Currently a one-week gap in service with the same employer will cease continuous service that can lead to improved rights. This gap will be extended to four weeks.
- Repeal of the “Swedish Derogation” model implemented by some employers with agency workers.
Clarity of information
Currently employees are entitled to a written statement covering their contract and rights after one-month of service and must be received within two months. New measures will see this entitlement extended to workers with availability from day one of engagement.
Information contained must include:
- How long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract.
- How much notice an employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement.
- Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay.
- Details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave.
- The duration and conditions of any probationary period.
- Which specific days and times workers are required to work.
This is in additional to all other current, mandatory information that must be provided.
Agency Workers “Key Facts Page”
Recruitment Agencies and Employment Businesses will now have to provide agency workers with a “Key Facts Page”.
Included here must be:
- The type of contract a worker is employed under.
- The minimum rate of pay.
- How payment is to be made.
- If payment is through an intermediary, any deductions that will be taken and what this means for take home pay.
It will be the responsibility of the Agency to provider workers with the Facts Page, not the client.
Good Work Plan summary
The Good Work Plan forms part of the Governments ambition to ensure the “UK labour market remains successful and competitive and ready to embrace…changes brought by new employment models”.
Individuals will have a clearer understanding of their rights and employment status, be that worker, employee or self-employed. By having a more transparent relationship, the aim is to create better, more secure jobs more with progression opportunities, that are fairly paid and safe.
Bowen Eldridge Recruitment are an Accountancy, Human Resources and Marketing Recruitment Agency based in Cardiff, covering south Wales.