Government unveils its Good Work Plan to upgrade employment rights

The government has unveiled what it describes as the “largest upgrade in a generation to workplace rights”. 

Ministers say the extensive new measures contained in its Good Work Plan will give businesses greater clarity on their obligations and ensure the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose.

The new legislation will close a loophole by repealing the Swedish derogation – which currently allows agency workers to be employed on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts.

It will also extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers, going further to include detail on rights such as eligibility for sick leave and details of other types of paid leave, such as maternity and paternity leave.

The maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who have shown malice, spite or gross oversight will quadruple from £5,000 to £20,000

The government will also extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks, ensuring those in seasonal or atypical roles get the paid time off to which they are entitled.

The measures are based on the findings of the independent Matthew Taylor review of the impact of modern working practices, with 51 of the 53 recommendations being implemented.

Other key changes include:

  • ensuring tips left for workers go to them in full
  • ensuring workers are paid fairly by providing agency workers with a key facts page when they start work, including a clear breakdown of who pays them, and any costs or charges deducted from their wages
  • enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday pay for the first time
  • introducing a list of day-one rights including holiday and sick pay entitlements and a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers
  • introducing a right for all workers, not just zero-hour and agency, to request a more predictable and stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts
  • introducing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards
  • taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker.

Ministers say they want to reflect the reality of the modern working relationships as expressed by the Taylor review.

This means acknowledging that banning zero hours contracts in their totality would negatively impact more people than it helped, and that the flexibility of ‘gig working’ is not incompatible with ensuring atypical workers have access to employment and social security protections.

Read the government’s Good Work Plan

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