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16 October 2018
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GOVERNMENT PROMISES GIG ECONOMY WORKERS MORE RIGHTS AND PROTECTIONS

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Major reforms are promised © iStock

7 February 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

 

Millions of flexible workers will receive new rights under major government reforms in response to the Taylor Review, says the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

 

The ‘Good Work plan’ comes in response to the Taylor Review, published last year, which investigated what impact modern working practices are having on the world of work.

 

The review found that the strength of the UK’s labour market is built on flexibility but that a clearer focus is needed on quality of work as well as the quantity of jobs.

 

The reforms are a vital part of the Industrial Strategy, the government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future by helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK.

 

The proposals seek to ensure that workers know their rights and receive the benefits and protections they are entitled to, and that action is taken against employers who breach workers’ rights.

 

In some cases the government plans to go further than the review’s proposals, including:

 

• Enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time.

• A list of rights from day one including holiday and sick pay entitlements and a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers.

• A right for all workers, not just zero-hours and agency workers, to request a more stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts.

 

The prime minister said: “We recognise the world of work is changing and we have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes, enhancing the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to do business.”

 

Matthew Taylor, lead author of the review and chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, recognised that the UK’s employment and tax laws can fail to provide the clarity that employers and individuals need.

 

The government is also launching a detailed consultation examining options, including new legislation, to make it easier for both the workforce and businesses to understand whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed – determining which rights and tax obligations apply to them.

 

The government will also ensure that workers are paid fairly by asking the Low Pay Commission to consider the impact of higher minimum wage rates for workers on zero-hours contracts.

 

Quality work will also be considered by the government when agreeing new sector deals with industry, encouraging employers to show how they are investing in their workforces to improve productivity.

 

The BEIS will work with labour market experts, trade unions and the business community to measure the standards of quality work established in the Taylor Review.