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New Employment Protections for Millions of Workers

February 8, 2018, 8:00 AM
  • Government reforms include holiday and sick pay
  • Pledging to create ‘higher paying jobs’
  • Will be looking into zero-hour contracts
The Government will be ensuring workers get the right sick and holiday pay. Image:Getty

The Government is undertaking major reforms to give millions of workers new employment rights from the first day in a job, including enforcement of holiday and sick pay.

The reforms have come in response to a review by Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.

The review looked into issues such as the rights of workers in zero hour contracts and agency workers.

What Does It Mean?

Most of what has been announced will not result in massive changes, it will mainly be enforcing existing laws that people may not aware of.

People who are officially classified as workers, such as Uber drivers, are already entitled to sick pay and holidays, but frequently aren’t given any, so this will now be more thoroughly enforced.

The Government’s aim is to make sure that everyone knows what they’re entitled to when they start working for a company, and now the rules will be enforced by HMRC, so people actually get what they’re owed.

It’s good news for workers who aren’t getting what they’re owed, but in terms of new rights, there’s not many changes.

The Review concentrated particularly on the so-called ‘gig economy’ or part time and flexible workers.

It said all work in the UK economy should be “fair and decent”

Greg Clark, the UK Business Secretary, said, “We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect that new change.”

The Review could lead to a rise in minimum wage, as the Government is asking the Low Pay commission to consider a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts.

Minimum wage will rise in 2018 anyway, as a result of the Autumn Budget.

The Trades Union Congress, TUC, criticised the Government for not taking the reforms far enough.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said, “The Government has taken a baby step- when it needed to take a giant leap.

“These plans won’t stop the hire and fire culture of zero-hour contracts, or sham self-employment, and they will still leave 1.8 million workers excluded from key protections.

“Ministers need to up their game.

“At the very least they must end the undercutters’ charter that means agency workers can be paid less than permanent staff doing the same job.”

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