On 7 February the Government published its response to the wide ranging Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. The review, which was published in July 2017, made 53 recommendations. However, the Government's response, while accepting many of the proposals, provides very few answers as to how the recommendations will be implemented. Instead the Government is seeking to consult on many of the proposals before a final strategy is announced. Consultations which are underway relate to the review's recommendations on employment status, agency workers, enforcement of employment rights and transparency in the labour market.
Some of the higher profile recommendations of the review that have been accepted by the Government include:-
- Retaining the 3 tier approach to employment status;
- Extending the period required to break continuity of service beyond one week;
- Extending the right to a written statement of particulars from employees to all workers;
- Amending agency workers legislation to improve transparency of information that must be provided to agency workers in terms of rates of pay and who is responsible for payment;
- Extending the right to receive pay slips to all workers, and to require employers to state hours being paid for on the payslips of time-paid workers (legislation setting out the latter has already been laid before Parliament and will take effect from 1 April 2019);
- Taking steps to increase awareness of holiday pay entitlements;
- Increasing the pay reference period for calculating holiday pay to 52 weeks;
- Improving guidance on pregnancy and maternity issues;
- Updating and consolidating the GOV.UK website pages on pregnancy and maternity discrimination;
- Reviewing the legislation relating to protection against redundancy;
- Providing access to an online tool that determines employment status (this will be done only after a final decision on the legislative framework relating to employment status is made);
- Asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the potential impact of a higher National Minimum/Living Wage rate for non-contracted hours;
- Providing a right to request a more predictable contract for all workers including those on zero hours contracts and agency workers;
- Introducing a naming scheme for those employers who fail to pay penalties issued to them by employment tribunals;
- Making the enforcement process for payment of tribunal awards more straightforward;
- Consulting on action that could be taken against employers who repeatedly ignore tribunal decisions.
The Government have rejected the review's recommendation on the issue of rolled up holiday pay on the basis it has been found to be unlawful by the Court of Justice of the European Union. They do intend to consult on alternative ways to ensure that workers do receive all of the holiday pay to which they are entitled. Recommendations that tribunal hearings on status should be expedited and that the burden of proof is reversed so it is for the employer to prove the individual is not entitled to the relevant employment rights have also been rejected. The Government has also made clear that they have no plans to revisit the issue of differences in the rates of NI contributions paid in respect of employees and the self employed.
The last of the four consultations closes on 1 June 2018, after which we can expect a Government response to them. While steps may be taken to embrace the modern world of work there is clearly a considerable amount of work to be done - let's hope by the time it's completed the results won't be out of date.
The Government's full response can be found here.