The Government's full response to the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices was released last month and is available to read here.
Called the “Good Work” report, the response sets out the Government’s intention to take forward nearly all of the review’s recommendations, BUT there are very few specific proposals and much of the detail will be the subject of further consultation - see below.
According to the Government's press release, it will:
- introduce a right to request a more stable contract for all workers including zero hour workers (anyone got a clue what that means?);
- help enforce workers' sick and holiday rights;
- introduce a 'naming and shaming' scheme for employers who don't pay tribunal awards;
- make sure new and expectant mothers know their rights;
- ask the Low Pay Commission to consider introducing a higher rate of the national minimum wage for workers on zero hour contracts.
As for the more ‘important’ stuff, there are no proposals but instead four separate consultations being launched – click on the links below to take part:
- employment status
- increasing transparency in the labour market
- agency workers
- enforcement of employment rights
Implications of all this?
Acknowledging that, in particular, employment status is a complex area, the Government has not put forward any firm proposals. The consultation document makes clear that “no decisions about whether or how to reform employment status, or to aim for alignment between the tests for tax and rights, have been made yet”.
However, it make it clear that there is no intention of revisiting the arguments for reducing the difference in the rate of National Insurance contributions paid in respect of employees and the self-employed, stating “we are clear we have no plans to revisit this issue”.
The Government will also “take into account any significant changes in the case law precedents as work in this area progresses”. Since there are a number of appeals concerning employment status in the pipeline, this may well influence the Government’s line of thinking on this issue.
Notwithstanding assurances by the Government that the consultations are about “how” rather than “whether” to implement the Taylor review’s recommendations, there are still many areas to be resolved. Despite Government calls for “quick progress”, in reality it is likely to be some time before any specific proposals for reform materialise following the consultation process, let alone become law. So, don’t hold your breath just yet! The four consultations close on a range of dates between 9 May 2018 and 1 June 2018, so the chances of any significant proposals for legislative change appearing before the autumn - at the earliest - seem extremely slim.
The Taylor review’s recommendations could be the catalyst for a significant shake-up of employment law to meet the challenges of the changing world of work, but of course it remains to be seen how bold the PM will be in the context of competing priorities in the run-up to Brexit.