MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP Supports Government Plans For Largest Increase In Workers' Rights In A Generation


North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has welcomed the announcement of the largest upgrade to workplace rights in a generation.

The Government has set out a package of reforms which it hopes will see the UK leading the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work.

The update will take forward the recommendations of a recent independent review into modern working practices – in many cases going further than the review.

The new proposals introduced today will:

  • close a loophole by ending the so-called 'Swedish derogation' – which currently allows agency workers to be employed on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts

  • extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers, going further to include detail on rights such as eligibility for sick leave and pay and details of other types of paid leave, such as maternity and paternity leave

  • quadruple maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5,000 to £20,000

  • extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks, ensuring those in seasonal or atypical roles get the paid time off they are entitled to

  • lower the threshold required for a request to set up Information and Consultation arrangements from 10% to 2%

The reforms also reflect the views expressed by independent expert Matthew Taylor in his review into Modern Working Practices, that banning zero hours contracts in totality would negatively impact employees more than it would help. 

The Government has also used this announcement to respond to the Labour Market Strategy set out by Sir David Metcalf, the Director of Labour Market Enforcement, with detailed plans to tackle exploitation of low paid workers, including:

  • bringing forward proposals in early 2019 for a single enforcement body to ensure vulnerable workers are better protected

  • increasing resources for the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate

  • creating new powers to impose penalties for employers who breach employment agency legislation like non-payment of wages

  • consulting on Salaried Hours Work and Salary Sacrifice Schemes to ensure National Minimum Wage rules do not inadvertently penalise employers
  • bringing forward legislation to enforce holiday pay for vulnerable workers

  • consulting on the recommendations on non-compliance in supply chains

In addition, the Government has published the Low Pay Commission’s letter on potential options to address the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’, which the Taylor Review described as the issue where some businesses have transferred too much business risk to the individual.

The reforms announced today build on the work the Government has already done to improve workers’ rights, which includes:

  • ensuring tips left for workers go to them in full

  • ensuring workers are paid fairly by providing agency workers 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

  • enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday pay for the first time

  • introducing a list of rights including holiday and sick pay entitlements and a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers

  • introducing a right for all workers, not just zero-hour and agency, to request a more predictable and stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts

  • introducing a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards

  • taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “It is vital that there is a good balance between flexibility and worker protections, and that these protections keep up with the changes to working practices. These reforms are an important part of that. We want to build a labour market that continues to reward people for hard work, that celebrates good employers, and is boosting productivity & earning potential across the UK.”

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