How should you prepare?
The Good Work Plan
Described as the “largest upgrade in a generation to workplace rights” (Phil Allen), the Good Work Plan was published in 2018 and sets out the Government’s vision for the future UK labour market. Broadly speaking, the Good Work Plan builds on the recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his review of the UK employment framework and is based on three main themes; fair and decent work, clarity for employers and workers, and fairer enforcement.
- Fair and decent work
This section focuses on employee development and growth. As well as building on the current law, the Good Work Plan presents some new rights. This includes legislation to give all workers the right to request a more stable contract of employment, extending the time away from work which is required to break a period of continuous service and proposes new laws to ban employers from making deductions from staff tips.
- Clarity for employers
The Good Work plan also recognises the law needs to be more transparent. The main reforms include setting out specific information that agency workers must be given to help them make informed choices about the work they accept. The Good Work Plan also agrees with the Taylor review: businesses should not be able to avoid their responsibilities by trying to misclassify or mislead their staff, therefore the government will introduce legislation on employment status to tackle this issue.
- Fairer enforcement
The final section concentrates on ‘creating a level playing field between businesses’ by ensuring employees have the confidence to challenge when the law is broken in an employment context. Promoting justice and shielding employers are the main aims of these improvements, which include extending state enforcement on behalf of vulnerable workers, underpayment of holiday pay, and increasing state enforcement protections for agency workers where they have pay withheld or unclear deductions made by an umbrella company. The Good Work Plan intends to bring forward proposals in early 2020 for a new single labour market enforcement agency to better ensure that vulnerable workers are more aware of their rights, have easier access to them and that businesses are supported in how to comply.
How can you prepare?
Although the Brexit process seems to have delayed the official introduction to any changes to employment law, we at Thrive Law believe prevention is always better than cure. Below are some of the key statutory instruments that both employees and especially employers will need to be aware of moving forward:
- The Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019
This piece of legislation will come into force on 6 April 2020 and provides a basis to abolish The Swedish Derogation. The Swedish Derogation essentially enables firms to pay agency workers less than permanent employees. If you employ any agency workers and consider this may affect you, we suggest taking independent advice from one of our legal professionals.
- The Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019
This Act will also come into force on the 6 April 2019 and states that a written statement of employment particulars must be given to all workers or employees no later than the beginning of the employment. Currently, employers have to provide this within 2 months from the start date, but this will change to a day one right.
The employment particulars are often contained within the contract of employment and must set out the employee’s main employment terms, including the job description, pay, hours of work and any disciplinary or grievance procedures the employer has.
For our HR clients we are suggesting that all new employees receive their new contract of employment before they start and sign a copy electronically before their first day. This ensures that both parties have a fully executed copy and also ensure the employer is compliant with the new requirements. Need some advice on this or need your contracts reviewing to ensure they are section 1 Employment Rights Act 1996 compliant? Contact us by clicking here.
- Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019
The promotion of justice was an overarching theme throughout Taylors review, and this act will increase the financial penalties payable for aggravated breaches of employment law. The maximum level of penalty an Employment Tribunal can enforce upon an employer for an aggravated breach of an employee’s rights will be increased from £5,000 to £20,000 therefore it is vital that employers understand their legal obligations to their employees, keep aware of any changes, and respond to any such changes accordingly.
We recommend that employers should review their procedures, policies and contracts of employment to ensure that they are all legally compliant to avoid liability and increased penalties. Here at Thrive, we are happy to help, just click here.
How can Thrive law help?
Whether you are a business owner implementing these changes to your workforce or an employee enforcing your legal rights, at Thrive law our dedicated team of legal professionals work closely with you every step of the way to understand the situation and offer the most appropriate solution.
You can get in touch with us by clicking here.
Click here to see the HR packages which we can also tailor to your business’ needs, ensuring that you are always one step ahead of any proposed changes.
Written by Joevondeep Kullar
This page is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions