By Karen Coleman, Employment Law specialist.
The Good Work Plan sets out our vision for the future of the UK labour market.
Government Minister Greg Clark says the plan is a “vision for the future of the UK labour market,” adding that this should be a labour market that “rewards people for hard work, that celebrates good employers and that is ambitious about boosting productivity and earnings potential.”
In the Good Work Plan, the government also commits to a wide range of policy and legislative changes to ensure that workers can access fair and decent work, that both employers and workers have the clarity they need to understand their employment relationships, and that the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose.”
There are several key changes that companies should consider:
Statement of Terms and Conditions
At present, employers have two months to provide a Statement of Terms and conditions to employees, but from April 2020 this will be a right from the first day of employment.
Whilst I always advise my clients to maximise the protection to their business by having bespoke contracts of employment prepared and signed by an employee before they start, many employers provide nothing or only the basics and then sometimes many months after an employee has started.
For the first time, this entitlement to a Statement of Terms applies equally to people with the status of workers. Note: Employees have more employment rights than workers, but workers are entitled to certain employment rights such as the national minimum wage and paid annual leave.
Additional details will have to be provided in the minimum Statement of Terms and Conditions, such as details of any probationary period, benefit entitlement and details of any paid leave.
Agency workers will need to be provided with a ‘Key Facts Page’ which contains contract details and other key facts.
The right to request a more stable contract
After 26 weeks of employment, a worker working variable hours will have the right to request a more predictable and stable contract, with an employer having to respond within three months.
Continuous Service: Currently a gap of one week can break continuity of service, but under the Good Work Plan, this will extend to four weeks.
There are also changes to holiday pay legislation.
Employment Tribunals will be given the power to impose harsher penalties on employers who don’t abide by the rule. This takes the ceiling for an aggravated breach of employment law from £5,000 to a maximum of £20,000.
Employers who fail to pay compensation awarded by a tribunal could be named and shamed. This comes on top of the current available penalty of being the subject of aa penalty notice to pay an additional fine of up to 50% of the original unpaid award.
This is a snapshot of the significant changes under the Good Work Plan. If you require support, or an exploratory meeting, please contact Karen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Coleman is an experienced, Staffordshire based employment lawyer, working with Excello Law. Founded in 2009, Excello Law is an innovative, new-model commercial law firm which has pioneered a step-change in the delivery of legal services, providing a more dynamic and independent environment in which to practise for senior lawyers, and meeting client demands for greater quality and value.