Last month, the ‘Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices’ published its findings and recommendations with a series of proposals that aim to ensure all work is "fair and decent".
The Review was launched at the end of 2016 after being commissioned by the Prime Minister amid concerns about the practices of companies operating in the so-called ‘gig economy’. It considers the implications of new models of working on the rights of workers and the freedoms and obligations of employers and makes a number of proposals for clarifying the law governing employment status and adjusting the scope of various employment protections.
In particular, it pays attention to the ‘gig economy’ and many of the Review’s substantive recommendations concern the classification of employment status and the allocation of different employment rights to ‘employees’ and ‘workers’.
Some of the main recommendations are as follows:
- Keep the distinction between employees and workers, but rename workers who are not employees ‘dependent contractors’.
- Strategies must be put in place to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the national living wage.
- Agency workers should have the right to request a direct contract of employment after 12 months with the same hirer, which the hirer would be obliged to consider reasonably. Similarly, zero-hours workers should be entitled to request a contract that guarantees hours which better reflect the actual hours worked after 12 months.
- Extend the right to a written statement of terms to dependent contractors at the start of their engagement, similar to that currently enjoyed by employees, backed up by a standalone right to compensation for failure to comply.
- The Government should ask the Low Pay Commission to advise on the impact of bringing in a higher national minimum wage for hours which are not guaranteed in a contract, so that businesses can continue to use zero and short-hours workers but would pay more for their flexibility.
The Prime Minister has said the government would take the report's recommendations seriously and would respond in detail later in the year.
Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, said the Review had, "got the balance right". However, Trade Unions have said the Review had not tackled many of the issues facing workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said, "From what we've seen, this review is not the game changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work."
Unite, the country's largest union said Tuesday's report, "spectacularly failed to deliver" on its promise to tackle the problem of insecure work, while the GMB described it as a, "disappointing missed opportunity".
Whilst receiving mixed reviews, it remains to be seen how many of the recommendations, if any, will be implemented and with the outcome of the recent general election and the continuing uncertainty over Brexit, it may be some time before we start to see any changes implemented.
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