The Taylor Review of Modern Employment Practices
The Government commissioned Taylor Review was published on 11 July – all 116 pages of it. The Review covers a wide range of employment issues and looks at the rise in the “gig economy”, employment status and zero hours contracts to name but a few.
It calls on the Government to adopt the ambition that all work should be fair and decent with scope for fulfilment and development. It states there are three key challenges UK employers and policy makers need to address, namely:
-tackling exploitation and the potential for exploitation at work;
-increasing clarity in the law and helping people know their rights; and
-aligning the labour market in the longer term with broader industrial strategy.
The prominence of cases involving those engaged by the likes of UBER, Deliveroo, Hermes, Amazon etc. looking at the employment status of their workers has caused some to press for a review of the law in this area. The Taylor Review proposes that the current status of worker be renamed dependent contractor and those who come within this category be given employment rights. In fact, there are already laws in place, and case law, setting out the status of individuals in this type of workplace, which offer protection and rights. Changing the name from worker is simply unnecessary. Employees need to be able to enforce those rights – and the removal of ET fees will allow more to do that.
The Review also proposes an increase to National Minimum Wage rates for those under zero hours contracts, together with a right for those workers to request fixed hour contracts after 12 months. This seems reasonable in theory but what happens if an employer genuinely does not have fixed hours to provide. There are a number of industries where work fluctuates requiring a genuine need for a flexible workforce.
The review does not suggest a complete ban on zero hours contracts which has been welcomed by employers.
Other suggestions include SSP being a right from day one, accruing in the same way as holiday pay. That those returning from sick leave should have protections in the same way as those returning from maternity leave. In addition, it looks to give the right to agency workers to request direct employment after 12 months.
The Review tackles employment costs, advising that the Government avoid further raises of non-wage based costs to the employer and proposes companies practice responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations from within, without the need for further regulations.
Whilst the Prime Minister has promised to look at its recommendations “very carefully and seriously” in reality the Government has no obligation to implement any of the suggestions made. We will have to watch this space…