Workplace Reforms to “Protect” Contractors, Says Government
Posted 8th January 2019 in News For Workers
Workers on zero-hour contracts, agency employees and “gig economy” workers will enjoy improved protection under a recently introduced package of workplace reforms, according to the government.
Under new legislation, employers are required to inform staff of their rights from their first day, including eligibility for paid and sick leave. Workers will also be given the right to request more predictable hours.
The reforms have been based on the findings of a review led by Matthew Taylor, former aide to Tony Blair and chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts.
Among the reforms are an increase in the maximum fine employers face – from £5,000 to £20,000 – if they are found to have demonstrated “malice, spite or gross oversight”.
Companies will also be expected to calculate holiday pay based on 52 weeks, rather than 12 weeks, ensuring workers in seasonal and atypical roles experience a comparable amount of paid time off to other workers.
Business Secretary Greg Clark commented, “Today’s largest upgrade in workers’ rights in over a generation is a key part of building a labour market that continues to reward people for hard work, that celebrates good employers and is boosting productivity and earning potential across the UK.”
However, some have criticised the reforms, with general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O’Grady saying, The right to request guaranteed working hours is no right all.
“Zero-hours contract workers will have no more leverage than Oliver Twist. Unless unions get the right to organise and bargain for workers in places like Uber and Amazon, too many working people will continue to be treated like disposable labour.”