Consultation: Enforcement of Employment Rights Recommendations

09 February 2018

Government has published its response to The Taylor review along with four consultations to address recommendations on the key aspects of;

  • Employment Status;
  • Increasing transparency in the labour market;
  • Agency Workers; and
  • Enforcement of employment rights

To view our previous article on the Taylor Review, click here.

Consultation Four: ‘Enforcement of employment rights recommendations’ covers;

The response to the Taylor review identifies the government intent to address the following:

  • HMRC should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers.

There are concerns that many low paid workers may not be awarded the rights they are entitled to by employers.

  • Government should make the enforcement process easier for employees to take action against employers who are not paying employment tribunal awards.

Employers who lose at tribunal often try to delay or dodge payment of tribunal rewards. The successful employee then has to complete additional forms to chase payment for their tribunal reward.

  • Government should name and shame employers who do not pay tribunal awards in a reasonable period of time.

The naming a shaming scheme would work at as a deterrent for employers who think they can simply ignore the law.

  • Increase penalties and compensation for similar breaches in employment status.

The suggested measure would punish employers who are consistently non-compliant with employment law relating to employment status.

To address these issues the Government has made the following four recommendations;

Recommendation One: HMRC should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers – National Minimum Wage, sick pay and holiday pay for the lowest paid workers.

Government recognises the case for the state enforcing a basic set of core rights for the most vulnerable workers and intends to move in that direction. The government first wants to assess the extent of the problem before issuing appropriate action.

Government states that is it difficult to evaluate the level of non-compliance especially with SSP and holiday pay. Research suggests that 4-9% of employees and workers receive no paid holidays at all.

Government is now considering the best approach to tackle non-compliance without adding additional costs to businesses who are compliant.

Recommendation Two: Government should make the enforcement process simpler for employees and workers to take action against employers/engagers who do not pay employment tribunal awards, without the successful claimant having to fill in extra forms or pay an extra fee or initiate extra court proceedings.

The current system allows claimants to contact BEIS to enter the Employment Tribunal Award Penalty Scheme where they win an employment tribunal but the respondent does not pay their liability. The scheme is criticised because BEIS has no powers to pursue the actual award.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HCMTS) have set up an enforcement reform project in January 2018 to oversee the design and delivery of an improved service for the enforcement service of all types of monetary award and order.

The project intends to deliver a digital single point of entry for users starting enforcement proceedings regardless of which method is chosen. The online service will provide more information to the claimant, such as the respondent’s financial data and details of each enforcement option. As the process is digital it will reduce the burden on the claimant as information will be more readily available and the nature of the online process will improve efficiency during the process.

Recommendation Three: Government should introduce a naming and shaming system scheme for employers who do not pay employment tribunal awards within a reasonable time.

Government proposes that employers will be named for failing to act upon a specified stage of the existing penalty scheme. Their view is that it is best done at the point when a penalty notice is issued. However, this is open to discussion. The naming and shaming process will follow a similar format to the one in place for breaches of National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.

Recommendation Four: Government should create an obligation on employment tribunals to consider the use of aggravated breach penalties and cost orders if an employer has already lost an employment status case on broadly comparable facts – punishing those employers who believe they can ignore the law.

Recommendation Five: Government should allow tribunals to award uplifts in compensation if there are subsequent breaches against workers with the same, or materially the same working arrangements.

Government accepts that there should be additional measures to penalise businesses which repeatedly flout employment law and so, is looking to extend the remit for tribunals to consider such breaches and impose additional sanctions.

There are two suggested ways to implement the measure;

  • Proposing aggravated breach penalties for breaches on ‘broadly comparable facts’;
  • Uplift for subsequent breaches involving workers on the same or materially same working arrangements.

Click here to view the consultation document.

Responses must be submitted by 16 May 2018.

Aspire Comment

The consultation demonstrates the Government’s resolve to provide additional powers to enforce worker’s basic rights. This would see more regulation enforcement from Government departments and additional powers for tribunals to punish those who ignore tribunal decisions. 

Where claimants incur the cost in time and money of taking a claim to tribunal it seems sensible that the system supports the outcome of that decision and works to obtain their rightful settlement. 

If you have any questions regarding employer status or wish to have your contracts reviewed please call 0121 445 6178 or email