Good Work

Posted Wednesday 14th August 2019

A new Consultation is underway with the Government recommending changes to reflect an increasingly flexible, modern way of working.

Following Matthew Taylor’s independent review of modern working practices, workers’ rights and statuses (the Taylor Review), the Government responded with its Good Work Plan in December 2018. Now, a new consultation covers a number of possible changes to the Plan, including:

  • Dealing with perceived misuse of flexible working arrangements by some employers, to address so-called ‘one-sided flexibility’
  • The establishment of a new single enforcement body, enforcing employment rights more consistently across the UK; there are currently geographical discrepancies between the HMRC’s remit, and those of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Proposals to support families, covering parental and neonatal care, and considerations for employers about advertising roles as whether or not they can be performed on a flexible basis, and obligations for reporting family leave, pay, and flexible working policies.

In addition, the Government has published a response to its consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination which, in particular, proposes extending the period of redundancy protection.

The latest consultation on the Good Work Plan is partly in response to demands for clarity after initial drafts raised concerns from parties such as the Low Pay Commission, that guidance on ‘one-sided flexibility’ might benefit employers at the expense of employees.

The Plan is intended to incorporate the nature of flexible and modern working practices, recognising that the 21st Century’s model of work has evolved significantly from that of our forebears. For example, research into ‘megacities’ has shown that, as advancements in technology allow people to work remotely, people are moving away from metropolises, with proximity to the office no longer being a requirement for a job. Co-working spaces such as WeWork are being used increasingly to cater to the ‘digital nomad’ saving costs and reducing space requirements for employers. Employees are seeing lower take-home pay and higher levels of insecurity, according to a recent opinion piece in The Guardian.

As the Government itself has recognised,

“defining employment status and ensuring our legislation is fit for purpose in a changing world is not straightforward. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our reforms are effective, preserving the flexibility of the labour market while improving clarity for individuals.”

The consultation closes in October 2019 and employers are encouraged to have their say.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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