As a response to the Taylor Review, the government has set out the recommendations it plans to introduce as part of the Good Work Plan. In this article we aim to discuss what the Good Work Plan is and how companies can prepare for this.
What is the Good Work Plan?
The Good Work Plan was unveiled by business secretary Greg Clark in December 2018 and introduces legislation including:
- Abolishment of the Swedish derogation which permits businesses to offer agency staff cheaper remuneration packages than permanent staff.
- Help staff in seasonal roles take the time off required, extend holiday pay from 12 – 52 weeks. The Government will also launch a holiday pay awareness campaign.
- Enforcement of vulnerable workers' rights to holiday pay, sick pay and the NMW and wider review of statutory sick pay – there will be a new state enforcement system for holiday pay. In the context of the Statutory Sick Pay reforms, the Government will consider whether to make changes to the enforcement provisions.
- From April 2020, all workers will be eligible to receive a document setting out the key terms of their contract from day one of their contract (currently this is only given at 2 months).
- The right for all staff to request a more stable contract.
- Allow all staff the right to a payslip, including casual staff and xero-hours contracted staff.
- Extend the amount of time considered to be a break in continuous service from one week to four weeks. This means that an employee will generally have continuity of service even if they have gaps in the work of up to four weeks. The change applies from April 2020.
- Quadruple the fines given at employment tribunals to those employers who have demonstrated malice, gross oversight or spite to £20000 from £5000. They will also require tribunals to consider stronger punishments for employers that ignore previous tribunal judgments against them.
- Reduce the threshold required for a request to set-up information and consultation arrangements from 10% of employees to 2%
“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.”
Tackling exploitation of worker’s rights
To further tackle the issue of the exploitation of worker’s rights, the following will also be implemented:
- Prohibiting employers from making deductions from staff tips.
- Bringing forward plans for a single enforcement body to help protect vulnerable workers to early 2019.
- Ensuring penalties on organisations who breach employment agency legislation.
- Consulting on salaried hours work and salary sacrifice schemes to make sure minimum wage rules do not penalise employer.
- Assigning more resources to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.
- Imposing holiday pay for vulnerable workers
- Consulting on the recommendations made in Sir David Metcalf’s Labour Market Strategy on non-compliance in supply chains.
It appears that the re-introduction of tribunal fees looks increasingly likely given that the Good Work Plan statement to Parliament indicated it was "under consideration" by the Government.
Following a consultation in 2016 employers will be banned from taking "administrative fees" or other deductions from staff tips with effect from April 2020.
Of course many workers will welcome the clarity this will bring concerning their rights, however, there are still some concerns surrounding zero hours contracts and many were hoping to see these banned.
Since the abolition of tribunal fees, the tribunal system is struggling due to the vast increase in claims and there are still some huge concerns surrounding poor working conditions in some of the big players. We can only hope that those still on zero hours contracts will have more clarity surrounding their rights.
What will the Good Work Plan mean for businesses?
Of course the Good Work Plan aims to help employees, but it will also benefit the UK economy as a whole. Business owners will need to make changes to current working practices in-line with the above stated changes and so you will need to prepare for this in good time. So, please make sure you prepare as many of the regulations come into force in April 2020, which will come around quicker than you think.
The main changes concern employee contracts as mentioned previously and so if you employ casual workers on zero hours contracts or if you use agency workers then please do make sure you pay close attention to the new legislation.
Other preparations could include:
- Preparing a glossary of basic terms that can be customised, to be given to all employees when they begin working for you
- Preparing a ‘Key Facts Page’ for agency workers, setting out contract details
- Putting in place a process for employment status tests, to explain the employment status of each member of staff
- Preparing a process for consultation arrangements as employees will have the right to be more involved in certain workplace discussions
For more information
It’s important for you to understand the Good Work Plan and take the relevant action – Make sure you understand the legislation and put into place strategies and processes to help minimise any negative impact. However, we do appreciate this is a minefield if you’re not fully au fait with the subject. So, if you’re looking for support in this area, please don’t hesitate to contact us now on: 01453 297557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.