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By Mini Setty

Feb 20th, 2018

Fairer treatment needed for workers - Government Responds to Taylor Review recommendations

It will not have escaped attention that the gig economy has boomed in the UK over the past few years and modern working practices have been a hot topic, with companies such as Uber and Deliveroo hitting the headlines.

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices (also known as the Good Work Report), was an independent review commissioned to examine modern working practices and to address the challenges created by the gig economy. The review was published on 11 July 2017 and made a total of 53 recommendations and proposals relating to employment law.

On 7 February 2018, the Government released their much anticipated response to the Taylor Review.

The most significant measures in the response include allowing all workers, not just agency workers and those on zero-hours contracts, to request a more stable contract of employment; enforcing workers’ holiday pay and sick pay for the first time; introducing a right for all workers, including casual workers and those on zero-hours contracts, to receive itemised payslips thereby increasing transparency; and taking additional action to ensure that unpaid interns are not doing the same job as a worker.

The Government’s response also sets out proposals to introduce a new naming and shaming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards; and quadrupling fines to £20,000 for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight. The Government is also considering proposals to increase penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases.

In their response, the Government noted that other proposals set out in the Taylor Review will require further consultation before any decision can be taken on how best to proceed. On the same day that their response was published, the Government launched a further four consultations on employment status; increasing transparency in the labour market; agency workers; and the enforcement of employment rights, with the consultation periods ending between May and June 2018.

There are certain areas where the Government will not be taking forward the Taylor Review’s proposals. For example, the Government will not be adopting the proposal concerning the reversal of the burden of proof in employment status cases whereby an employer would be required to prove that the individual is not entitled to the relevant employment rights, nor will it be adopting recommendations regarding rolled-up holiday pay, as the European Court of Justice has held this to be unlawful.

How long it will take for the Government to introduce their proposals remains to be seen. Whilst some proposals will be easy to implement, others, such as establishing a test to determine employment status and amalgamating current case law principles into legislation will be much more challenging.

Overall, it is clear that the Government’s response will shape and develop many different aspects of employment law and will affect a significant number of workers and their employers. Watch this space!

The Government’s full response to the Taylor Review and the links the consultations can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-taylor-review-of-modern-working-practices

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