Government launches ‘one stop shop’ for protection of workers’ rights

11 June 2021


On 8 June 2021 Government announced the next stage of plans to ‘clamp down on workplace abuse’ with the introduction of a powerful new body which would provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for tackling modern slavery, enforcing minimum wage, and protecting the rights of agency workers.

The new workers’ watchdog will be created to protect the rights of UK workers and ‘ensure employees and businesses know where to go for help on workers’ rights’ would merge powers of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC's National Minimum Wage Enforcement team.  Notably, the remit of the new body will include the regulation of umbrella companies. 

The new body will also continue the Naming and Shaming scheme, which is used to identify companies who fail to pay workers correctly and issue employers with fines of up to £20,000 per worker. This will be extended to cover other regulations protecting the pay of workers employed through agencies or by gangmasters in the agricultural sector.

The plans were announced in the outcome to a consultation “Good Work Plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights” which was published in July 2019, with the consultation period closing on 6 October 2019. The response has now been published here. The consultation responses included concerns about the system being ‘under resourced, a loss of specialisation and expertise and a potential for increased bureaucracy.’

Despite varying concerns, the Government confirmed that they intend to proceed with plans to bring together the existing labour market enforcement bodies and have outlined in the consultation response detailed plans on reforming the current system.


Aspire comment:

If done correctly the new system could help to help improve enforcement through better co-ordination and by pooling intelligence. However, the transition could be difficult and must be done in a way that does not impact the support both to employees and employers.  The move to regulate umbrella companies will hopefully improve the reputation of this sector in which many are maligned by the actions of a few.   

There are many factors to consider when paying workers. It is vital that you take action to ensure that you are correctly paying the NMW (or NLW) that is due and complying with all of your obligations as an employer.

If you are concerned about whether you are meeting your obligations as an employer, to ensure you are compliant with your obligations and avoid the financial and reputational risk of being on the next name and shame list, give Aspire a call on 0121 445 6178.