Government publishes ‘Good work plan’ just in time for Christmas

17 December 2018


  • The ‘Good work plan’ sets out the Government’s vision for the future of the UK labour market

  • Low Pay Commission’s letter on one-sided flexibility and higher minimum rates for non-guaranteed hours published

Aspire Comment

The ‘Good work plan’, the Government’s response to the four consultations which were published in February 2018 following the Matthew Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, has been published alongside a letter from the Low Pay Commission to the Secretary of State on one-sided flexibility.

The plan confirms a number of measures which will be taken on board, including;

  • Legislation will be brought forward to repeal the Swedish derogation and ban the use of this type of contract to withhold agency workers’ equal pay rights
  • The break in continuous service will be extended from one week to four weeks allowing more employees to gain access to employment rights
  • Legislation will be introduced allowing all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract
  • Proposals will be put forward in early 2019 to create a new single labour market enforcement agency to better ensure that vulnerable workers are more aware of their rights
  • The government will extend the remit of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate to cover umbrella companies
  • State enforcement protections will be increased for agency workers who have pay withheld or unclear deductions made from pay by an umbrella company
  • The maximum level of penalty that Employment Tribunals can impose in instances of aggravated breach penalty will increase from £5,000 to £20,000 as well as creating an obligation on Employment Tribunals to consider the use of sanctions where employers have lost a previous case on broadly the same facts
  • Legislation will be drafted to improve the clarity of the employment status tests, reflecting the reality of modern working relationships
  • The government will agree to make detailed proposals on how the frameworks for employment rights and employment tax can be aligned to reduce differences between the two systems to an absolute minimum
  • The threshold required for a request to set up Information and Consultation arrangements, to improve the validity of worker opinion in the workplace, will be reduced from 10% to 2%
  • The right to a written statement on day one will be extended to all workers as well as employees and the information required will be expanded
  • All employment businesses will be required to provide every agency worker with a key facts page when they start work, including a clear breakdown of who pays them, and any costs or charges deducted from their wages
  • An awareness campaign, targeted at both individuals and employers, will be launched with the aim of ensuring that all workers are benefiting from their paid entitled to leave
    • New guidance and real-life examples to support the interpretation of holiday pay rule
    • An updated and improved holiday entitlement calculator will be published
    • The government is considering the option of a new holiday pay calculator
  • Legislation will extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks and further measures will be set out to ensure vulnerable workers receive their holiday pay

The recommendations and corresponding responses have been summarised into a table from page 43 onwards.

The letter from the Low Pay Commission which considered whether individuals on non-guaranteed hours should be entitled to a higher minimum wage confirms that the response from stakeholders did not provide backing for such a “premium rate”. The letter makes the following alternative package of measures;

  • A right to switch to a contract which reflects your normal hours – employers would need to objectively justify any refusal to issue such a contract in accordance with conditions clearly defined in legislation
  • A right to reasonable notice of work schedule – every individual should have the right to reasonable ‘recordable’ notice of their working shifts
  • Compensation for shift cancellation or curtailment without reasonable notice – reasonable notice of cancellation of a shift should be given by both employers and workers and, where reasonable notice is not given, workers should be compensated

Whilst the report doesn’t contain a timescale as to when we can expect each measure or new piece of legislation to be published, it is clear that in 2019 we will see a multitude of new legislation, changes and perhaps the biggest shake-up to the labour market as we know it.