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Matthew Taylor Report – Is it a plan setting out a ‘fairer’ system of work or well worded bluster with questionable impact?

Written by Brabners LLP

The natural critic in all of us can pore over Matthew Taylor’s report, criticising the various proposals which form its narrative for want of clarity, vision, and effectiveness.  For example, the proposal to change the term ‘‘worker’’ in employment legislation to ‘‘dependent contractor’’ is at best nominal. However, there are many proposals within the report that is likely to have an impact on the direction of legislative changes concerning the UK workforce or that will, at the very least, warrant a great deal of future discussion.  Here is a list of the report’s fundamental proposals that will no doubt form part of this discussion:

  • Ensure the distinction between employees and workers is maintained;
  • Amend the legislation defining employees and workers so that established case law principles are reflected in the legislation itself;
  • Remove the requirement for workers to have a contract to personally perform work;
  • Place a greater emphasis on control when considering the definition of worker status;
  • Ensure the legislation reflects the various nuances in the definitions of worker;
  • Retain the need for personal service in employment contracts;
  • Amend legislation to provide that gig-economy workers allocated through an android app will not have to be paid National Minimum Wage (NMW) for each hour that they are logged on when there is no work available;
  • Extend the right to a written statement of terms to workers as well as employees;
  • Ensure the written statement of terms is provided on the first day of employment;
  • Extend the written statement of terms to include a description of statutory rights;
  • Punish an employer through compensation if they do not provide a written statement of terms;
  • Increase the NMW for workers whose hours are not guaranteed;
  • Preserve continuity of employment where any gap in employment is less than one month;
  • Improve the information provided to agency workers;
  • Increase the reference period for calculating holiday pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks;
  • Allow holiday pay to be paid on a rolled up basis;
  • Provide agency workers with the right to directly request a contract with the end user client after 12 months on any one particular assignment;
  • Provide those on zero-hours contracts with the right to request guaranteed hours after 12 months with a particular employer;
  • Require employers to set up Information and Consultation Arrangements when requested by 2% of the workforce;
  • Require large employers to provide a detailed report on their overall workforce structure;
  • Remove the Swedish Derogation provision for agencies;
  • Provide HMRC with enforcement powers in respect of sick pay and holiday pay;
  • Provide claimants with the opportunity to bring a claim at an employment tribunal (ET) without a fee in order to determine the preliminary issue of employment status prior to a substantive claim;
  • Place the burden of proof on an employer in an ET claim when trying to prove that the claimant is not an employee or worker;
  • Provide the BEIS with the enforcement powers to pursue the implementation of ET awards;
  • Provide  employment tribunals with the power to impose aggravated penalties on a business, where the business does not apply an ET ruling on employment status to a similar group of workers in their workforce;
  • Implement uplifts in compensation where an employer commits subsequent breaches based on similar working arrangements to those already dealt with by an ET;
  • Provide flexible working requests to cover temporary as well as permanent changes to employment contracts;
  • Reform the Statutory Sick Pay legislation in respect of its application to workers; and
  • Provide all workers with a right to return to work following a long term sickness absence.

If you are interested in how these proposals may impact on your business then register for our live webinar presented by Paul Chamberlain of Brabners. The webinar will guide you through what certain proposals mean in real terms, as well as outlining the steps your business should take to meet its likely compliance obligations. The webinar will take place on 24 August 2017 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – a link to register for the webinar is provided below. Register for webinar >  

Disclaimer: This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose. This article is written by Brabners and reproduced with their permission. Brabners is a Limited Liability Partnership.