The government has finally responded to the Taylor Review. It has released its Good Work plan and says that ‘millions of workers will receive new rights under major government reforms’. However, the government has committed only to consulting on employment status, along with issues, including:
- Consultation on enforcement of employment rights recommendations
- Consultation on agency workers recommendations
- Consultation on measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market
- Consultation on employment status
Responding to the consultations, some commentators were hopeful the process would lead to new legislation:
“If it looks like work and feels like work it should be treated as work.” Government ministers have been pressing very strongly to me that their intention is to make the reforms to improve the quality of work. The consultations will lead to new #ukemplaw legislation.
— Nick Denys (@betapolitics) February 7, 2018
While others felt it was a delaying tactic:
— Steve Hall (@Hallsch) February 7, 2018
The plan has been criticised by unions – UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis for example, says the plan is no good and it will fall at the first hurdle. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady says: “These plans won’t stop the hire and fire culture of zero-hours contracts or sham self-employment. And they will still leave 1.8 million workers excluded from key protections.”
But according to the government’s press release, some of its plans go further than the recommendations made in the Taylor review, including:
- Enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time
- a list of day-one rights 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-hour and agency, to request a more stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contract.
While the government has rejected Matthew Taylor’s proposals to reduce the difference between the National Insurance contributions of employees and the self-employed, it points out that its acted on all other 53 points in the Review.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD says: “The CIPD has long called for both workers and employees to be eligible for written terms and conditions of employment, so we fully support the adoption of the right to receive a payslip and terms and conditions from day one. Improving clarity and transparency of people’s contractual terms and conditions from day one can help to ensure that people’s rights are respected in the workplace and reduce abuses.”
The reaction on Twitter was swift and to the point:
The government’s good work plan is no good, it won’t work and it isn’t a plan, says UNISON https://t.co/08N4m4UbSZ
— UNISON – the union (@unisontweets) February 7, 2018
Many solicitors highlighted the lack of employment status:
Govt has published its response to the #GoodWork Taylor Review – disappointing to read no proposal to change the law on employment status, only introduction of small changes for some workers & further consultations. Read the Taylor Review here: https://t.co/PvnxQKDG0X #ukemplaw
— Bindmans Employment (@BindEmp) February 7, 2018
And the fact that “dependent contractor” has not yet been adopted:
Govt. proposes the #GoodWorkPlan its response to the #TaylorReview : https://t.co/fzj0IlDPgg.
Notably, the proposal to introduce a “dependant contractor” category of
employment status as recommended by the Taylor review has not been adopted #ukemplaw
— Linklaters_E&I (@Linklaters_EI) February 7, 2018
In further news, there could be an update later, points out @Wonkypolicywonk
— GlamsyPolicyWonk (@Wonkypolicywonk) February 7, 2018