The government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ which was released last week announced some promising changes to the UK labour market. The plan was developed as a response to the 2017 ‘Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices’.
Of the 53 recommendations which the Taylor Review voiced, the government will implement 51 as a way to improve the working practices in the UK.
If you missed it, we’ve outlined all of the key updates from the report which could be of interest to umbrella employees:
Clarity for employers and workers
The Plan asserts that more needs to be done to clarify employment status as some employers may not be providing their employees with the rights they are entitled to as the rise of new business models has ‘caused increasing numbers of disagreements around the employment status of individuals’.
It will, therefore, be mandatory for employers to provide a statement of rights for workers, including holiday and sick day entitlement, salary and start and end dates if applicable. It is believed that this measure will protect the rights of gig economy workers in particular.
Legislation is set to give all workers the right to ‘request a more predictable and stable contract’ as a way to combat the employers who transfer too much responsibility to the individual. This means that zero hour workers may be able to request a stable working pattern with set hours after more than 26 weeks of service.
‘Swedish derogation’ to be abolished
The Agency Workers Regulations, which came into force in October 2011, gave agency workers new rights including the right to equal pay after a qualifying period (12 weeks). However, a worker could waive their right to equal pay providing the criteria outlined in regulations 10 and 11 were satisfied, namely a contract of employment that offered pay between assignments.
The introduction of Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 repeals regulations 10 and 11, meaning it will no longer be possible to waive the right to equal pay in return for guaranteed pay between assignments. This means all agency workers that have been on assignment at the same end hirer for 12 weeks will have a right the same pay as a permanent equivalent that is engaged at the same end hirer.
Read our guide to find out more about the end of the Swedish derogation model.
Employment Agency Standards to investigate umbrella companies
The government is to give the Employment Agency Standards the freedom to investigate complaints regarding unfair practices with umbrella companies and to take action where necessary. This initiative will focus on situations where workers have not received adequate pay and will protect their rights.
Assessing pay entitlement
The National Minimum Wage is set to increase to £8.21 for over 25s starting in April 2019. If an agency worker has not been paid the National Minimum Wage, the National Living Wage or Statutory Sick Pay, they can either pursue a claim through an Employment Tribunal or directly through HMRC.
The government is also set to protect vulnerable workers’ pay with state legislation which could leave employers to pay penalties if they are found to be withholding pay rights and underpaying workers.
We believe that the government’s measures are a promising step to improve the working conditions of umbrella workers and that this can only mean positive changes for the UK’s workforce.
In light of all of these changes, support from a compliant umbrella company like Parasol can help to ensure that your rights are always protected. Find out more about your rights and join Parasol here.