In December 2018, the Government published its Good Work Plan, which is designed to implement the proposals made in the Taylor Review from 2017. The Taylor Review set out a series of proposals for workplace reforms, the majority of which were subsequently accepted by the Government to form part of The Good Work Plan.
The reforms under The Good Work Plan are due to come into effect in April 2020, with the primary purpose of ensuring that individuals have better access to, and a better understanding of, their employment relationships.
What does this mean for your organisation?
There’s no doubt that The Good Wok Plan will increase the administrative burden on organisations, with a new requirement to provide employees with a more comprehensive statement of their contract (known as ‘written particulars’), from their first day. Currently, you have two months to provide your employee with their contract. However, the information can in fact be given at different times, provided it is all given within the two months.
In addition, to improve clarity and understanding, employees and employers will have access to an online platform that determines employment status in the majority of cases.
What else do you need to be mindful of?
Right for all workers to request a ‘more stable’ contract – there will be a right for all workers, not just those on zero-hour contracts and agency workers, to request a more stable contract after 26 weeks’ service.
Holiday rights and working time for seasonal, casual and zero-hours workers – the holiday pay reference period will be increased to 52 weeks (currently set at 12 weeks) in April 2020. The Government is also set to launch a holiday pay awareness campaign through February and March 2020.
Making it easier to show continuity of service – to enable atypical workers to establish ‘continuity of service’ more easily (giving them access to key rights), the qualifying ‘break in service’ period will be extended from one week to four weeks. This means that an employee will generally have continuity of service even if they have gaps in the work of up to four weeks. The change applies from April 2020.
Protections for agency workers – agency workers will have the right to be provided with a ‘Key Facts Page’, to include information on the type of contract, their rate of pay, who is responsible for paying it and any deductions or fees that will be taken. The ‘Swedish derogation’ will be abolished, which currently allows workers who have a contract that provides for a minimum level of pay between assignments to be excluded from the right to comparable pay with permanent employees. These changes apply from April 2020.
Enforcement of tribunal awards and increasing tribunal fines for employers – the Government will:
- Introduce a new scheme that will name and shame employers that fail to pay tribunal awards and make it easier for successful claimants to enforce payment.
- Increase the maximum penalty from £5,000 to £20,000, for ‘aggravated’ breaches of employment rights with effect from 06 April 2019.
- Require tribunals to consider stronger punishments for employers that ignore previous tribunal judgments against them.
In addition to the above…
- The re-introduction of tribunal fees looks likely given that the Good Work Plan statement to Parliament indicated it was “under consideration” by the Government.
- Following a consultation in 2016 employers will be banned from taking “administrative fees” or other deductions from staff tips with effect from April 2020.
- The threshold required for a request to set up information and consultation arrangements will be lowered from 10% to 2% of employees. This will be subject to the existing minimum of 15 employees. And again, this will apply from April 2020.
How are you planning for the Good Work Plan?
We will continue to update you over the coming months but if you have a burning question please get in touch with our HR Experts on 0161 926 8519.