The Good Work Plan – Implications for Employers & Workers
Date: 26th February 2019 | Categories: Employment law
The Government Good Work Plan was published in December 2018 in response to the Taylor Review of modern working practices. It sets out ambitious proposals for Employment Law reform in the UK, taking into account advances in technology and societal trends and the impact this has on the wider worker community. Its overall aim is 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, and that the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose”.
Essential Guidance: The Good Work Plan & Proposed Changes
To achieve this aim, the Government intends to introduce new/reformed policy and legislation to:
- Provide better clarity on employment status, and further detail on how to align worker rights with the tax status framework to ensure that differences between the two systems are kept to a minimum.
- Maintain a 3-tier system to employment status, reclassifying workers as “dependent contractors.”
- Make available an on online tool to support assessment of employment status.
- Give dependent contractors (workers) the right to a written statement of terms and conditions. This will become a day one right for all employees and workers and will contain extended mandatory information such as eligibility for sick leave/ pay (from April 2020).
- Extend the period of time required to break a period of continuous service from 1 week to 4 weeks (from April 2020).
- Increase the reference period considered for holiday pay purposes from 12 weeks to 52 weeks to take into account seasonal variations (from April 2020).
- Prohibit employers from making deductions from staff tips (from April 2020).
- Give all workers the right to a pay statement (from April 2019).
- Enhance transparency of information provided to agency workers, repeal the “Swedish Derogation” and increase state enforcement protections for this category of worker in situations when pay is withheld or deducted by an umbrella company (from April 2020).
- Introduce the right to request a more predictable and stable contract for all workers after 26 weeks.
- Reduce the threshold for a request to set up am information and consultation arrangement from 10% to 2% of employees (maintaining the 15 employee minimum initiation threshold) whilst ensuring that third party stakeholders are enlisted to commit to better employee engagement (Acas/ Investors in People)(from April 2020).
In addition to the above, the Government has also committed to investing in the modernisation of the Tribunal Service. The Good Work Plan has indicated that that the reintroduction of tribunal fees is currently under consideration.
Penalties for Employers
The Government has outlined a new “naming and shaming” scheme for employers that fail to pay tribunal awards and make it easier for successful claimants to enforce payment. Tribunals will also be required to consider stronger punishments for employers that ignore previous tribunal judgments against them.
Upcoming Legislation Changes – What you need to know
From 6th April 2019 the maximum penalty for ‘aggravated’ breaches of employment rights will increase from £5,000 to £20,000.
As indicated a number of these changes will come into force from April 2020, however there are a few changes to be mindful of from April this year (rights to pay statement).
The Government has not yet committed to any timelines nor presented any draft legislation for consultation in relation to the changes to employment status.
Keep up to date with future developments about the Good Work Plan, contact Wirehouse to get relevant Employment Law and HR updates.