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Good Work Plan – Impact on Employment Legislation

The Good Work Plan is the output from the Taylor Review into modern working practices. The Review was concluded in spring 2018 and, after 4 consultations, the Good Work Plan (GWP) policy document was outlined in December 2018.

The key theme of the GWP is to address the modern work environment and to ensure it is fit for purpose to enhance workers’ rights. It has become clear that to address the challenges of workplace flexibility, the Government needs to step in to create some direct protection for workers.

The output from the GWP is that there will be distinct changes to three key areas of employment law from April 2020:

  1. Fair and decent work for all;
  2. Clarity to employment relationships in law;
  3. Fairer enforcement of employment rights.

So, what does ‘fair and decent work for all’ actually equate to?

  • Firstly, there will be a new right to request a more predictable and stable contract. This has a widespread appeal and, in particular, will benefit the zero hours worker wanting standard hours reflected;
  • Secondly, the continuous service break period be extended from 1 week to 4 weeks.  This can be seen as a benefit to all employees working flexibly i.e. project managers;
  • Thirdly, temporary workers are paid equally to employees after 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer; and
  • Finally, monetary tips for customer service employees will be for the employee only with a ban on an employer making deductions.

There is much excitement about point number 2, in that there will be greater clarity in the legal aspect of defining employment relationships. Too much grey area has led to many tribunal cases due to the lack of clear guidance.

So, how will they achieve clarity in employment relationships?

a. There will now be 3 clear categories for legal rights and 3 clear tax categories:

  • Employee;
  • Worker; and
  • Self Employed

Legislation will be outlined for employee status tests that should give some clarity to these distinctions. There will apparently be an online tool to help employees and employers determine status.

b. There will be a new right to a written statement of employment particulars for all.

c. Employees and workers will have some day one rights that will need to be outlined clearly and at an early stage. These are

  • Length of contract, notice periods, sick pay and leave, maternity/paternity/family leave, length of conditions of probation, remuneration – pay, benefits in cash or kind, days and times of work;
  • Agency workers will also require a key facts page from day one to include the type of contract, minimum rates of pay and intermediary deductions or fees.
  • There is also an extension to the rights for a payslip for all.

The third and final area of employment law to see impact from the GWP is in relation to ‘the fairer enforcement of employment rights’. For example, the following aspects are set to become legislation, but the exact implementation details have not been finalised for all areas:

  • New state enforcement system for holiday pay;
  • Holiday pay calculation period increased from 12 to 52 weeks (or the total number of weeks of employment);
  • Employers and workers statutory pay will be applied to all weeks;
  • Extended redundancy provision for pregnant women and new parents to protect them from discrimination. The main point being an extension of redundancy protection period to six months upon return to work;
  • A duty to consider flexible working;
  • Scrapping the Swedish derogation for agency workers so they will no longer be excluded from the equality provisions of the agency workers regulations;
  • Qualifying service will not be broken until there is a gap of service of 4 weeks;
  • Reform of Statutory Sick Pay so that it is explicitly a basic right;
  • Employment tribunal award non-payment sanctions ‘naming and shaming’;
  • Employment tribunal financial penalty increase from 5k to 20k;
  • NIC’s payable on termination payments for the value over £30k;
  • Paid parental bereavement leave. Primary carers eligible to the same two weeks leave that parents are entitled to following the loss of a child.

With an ever-changing world of employment, where flexibility is becoming the new norm, we welcome these changes to bring clarity to the grey areas. If you need help navigating and preparing for these changes, then we are happy to help you implement practices and policies that will get you GWP ready.

ViewHR are hosting an event on Monday 9th March to discuss the plan and what the changes mean to you. You can get tickets to the event by click here.