Recently, there has been increased focus in the UK on new laws that protect workers and employees. Employment laws and policies have found a balance between providing flexibility, whilst providing workers protection.
In December 2018, the UK government unveiled The Good Work Plan, a direct and carefully detailed strategy that would focus on strengthening workers’ rights and cause changes in employment laws. Within this plan, there is a commitment towards clarifying the relationship between employers and employees and at the same time, enforcing a system that is fair. Below are some ways these new laws can increase financial security for workers:
Workers will now have a right to request stable contracts
One sided flexibility, a situation in which businesses transfer too much risk on an individual thereby affecting their financial security and well being is one issue that is being addressed by the law. New laws will give workers the right to request more stable contracts that allow them to enjoy flexible working without having to face financial insecurity.
Extension of the right to a payslip
Previous announcement by government have stated that from 6th April, 2019, all workers including zero-hour and casual workers will now have a right to a payslip. Part-time workers will be issued with a payslip which details the number of hours they are being paid for.
Launch of holiday pay awareness
There will also be a campaign to raise awareness of holiday pay which is focused on protecting workers from missing out on holiday pay. There has been various cases of companies, who do not pay certain types of workers holiday pay, because they have been classified as “independent contractors”. The aim of this campaign is to protect workers from missing out on holiday pay. It would also give workers the right to enjoy the flexibility to choose when they would go on holiday.
Enforcement of a stricter pay protection
Some employers have not adhered to paying National Minimum Wage because there hasn’t been a tough legislation to ensure it’s application. With the Good Work Plan, the government plans to introduce tough financial penalties for companies who do not pay the required National Minimum Wage.
End of Swedish Derogation
The Good Work Plan also addresses Swedish derogation, which currently allows agency workers to exchange their right to be paid equally to permanent counterparts in return for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. Although the original intention of the Swedish derogation was to offer reassurance to individuals that they would still earn during quieter periods, some companies have taken to using this opt-out to reduce the size of pay bill they work with. Nowadays it is very unusual for agency workers to have gaps between their assignments, and in some cases, employers have devised schemes to keep their exposure to a minimum which is contrary to the requirements originally outlined. The government has however decided to put an end to Swedish derogation with new legislation, banning the use of this type of contract to withhold equal pay rights. Instead, long-term agency workers will receive equal wages to those of permanent employees.
Increase in tribunal fines for employers.
The government has decided to introduce a “naming and shaming” scheme for employers who fail to pay tribunal awards, making it easier for claimants to enforce payments. There is also a provision for the increment in the maximum penalty from £5,000 to £20,000 for breaches of employment rights. When an employer commits a breach to employment rights of an employee, clearly outlined in a contract and backed by the law, and resolved in a tribunal hearing offering compensation to the claimant and if the employer fails to adhere to this judgement, the employment tribunal is allowed to impose fines on the company.
With the Good Work Plan, the government is seeking to ensure that every worker including zero-hour, casual and part time workers enjoy greater protection, especially in areas of their financial security. With provisions made by the Good Work Plan, workers will now begin to enjoy reforms made in the minimum wage plan, their right to enjoy flexible working hours and holiday pay.
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Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.