Regular readers will know that PJH Law has banged on about Government inertia when it comes to enacting suggestions made by the Taylor Report. This week, in what can only be assumed was an exercise of pre-Christmas desk clearing, the Government has announced plans to enact the report.
The new measures include:
- Extending Section 1 ERA rights to a written contract of employment to workers as well as employees
- Requiring a contract to be given on the first day of employment instead of within the first 2 months’
- Simplifying tests to determine employment status
- Removing the Swedish derogation loophole that allows agency workers to be paid less than regular staff
- Extending the average holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52
- Increasing the break between work from one week to four weeks’ when determining continuous service
- A ban on making deduction for staff tips
- Allocating a bigger budget to the Employment Standards Agency
Whilst it is good to finally see a bit of movement on this front, particularly simplifying employment status, the announcement is short on detail of how these plans will be enacted. For example, the new tests for employment status would be very useful to employers but they have not been announced. Likewise, it is unclear whether the deductions of tips will simply be an extension of current unlawful deductions to include tips or something different.
Additionally, the announcement does not ban zero-hours contracts, something many had called for and does not address union recognition for gig workers, an issue highlighted last week. Finally, the plans have not got a set timeline. Other than speculating much will be introduced in April 2019, there is no saying when or how these plans will come into force. Still baby steps are better than no steps at all.