February 19, 2019

Government's 'Good Work plan' enshrines rights for workers

10 February 2018, 07:17 | Anna Jefferson

Deliveroo workers will benefit from new rights

Deliveroo workers will benefit from new rights

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said launching consultations and considering proposals is "not good enough".

Maggie Dewhurst, a delivery courier who won an employment tribunal claim against City Sprint, told the Guardian that the proposals will do nothing to protect workers.

"But, progress is painfully slow and I am anxious that these further consultations are being used to delay making these much needed changes to how people work in the modern economy".

"On important issues, including pay for variable hours workers, employment status and representation of workers I welcome the direction indicated today, but there is more work to be done to encourage the Government to be bold in living up to its commitment to good work for all". It "may" raise "penalties for employers that have previously lost similar cases".

"Labour warned that the review did not go far enough, and yet the Government has failed to adequately meet even the most basic of recommendations".

The new policies were set out in the Government's response to a review headed by ex-Tony Blair adviser Matthew Taylor, commissioned to explore Britain's changing labour market and how workers' rights could be better protected.

Willmott said the government should place more attention on the "enforcement of existing rights" to help ensure that bad practice will be stamped out.

The government has also proposed more transparency around agency workers' contractual arrangements, including a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages.

The government is also asking the Low Pay Commission to consider a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts, and says it may also repeal laws that allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.

A crack-down on sectors where unpaid interns are doing the job of a worker.

Director general of the Institute of Directors Stephen Martin said: "This could be the biggest shake-up of employment law in generations".

Kerry Garcia, head of employment, pensions and immigration at Stevens & Bolton, said: "The long-awaited response to the Taylor report is largely a disappointing read for many workers - especially those working in the gig economy - as the changes announced today do not appear to provide significant new employment rights for them".

All workers, not just zero-hour and agency, can request more stable contracts. "Successive governments have been removing the differences in how each category of employee/worker can be treated".

Officials will also start measuring the quality of work rather than just the number of jobs in the overhaul. "Given wider political priorities, there's a real possibility that nothing will come of this before Brexit".

There will also be a drive to promote awareness and take-up of the right to flexible working, to make sure new mothers know their workplace rights and raise awareness among employers of their obligations.

The government rejected Taylor's proposals to reduce the gap between the national insurance contributions (NICs) of employees and the self-employed in 2016.

The changes include enforcing sick and holiday pay and tougher fines for companies that use part time and flexible workers, the so-called gig economy. "That's why we welcome this consultation and the chance to work with the government to end the current legal trade off between flexibility and security".

Millions of workers are being promised new protections against unscrupulous employers who deny them sickness and holiday pay in a package of measures created to modernise employment laws.

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