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An overhaul of employment rights set to improve working conditions for millions has been promised by the government.

Changes include stricter enforcement of holiday and sick pay rights and higher fines for companies that breach contracts or mistreat their staff. This is in response to last year’s review into working practices by Matthew Taylor. Matthew Taylor has called the government’s response “substantive and comprehensive”.

Greg Clark, Business Secretary said that these new measures would “address very clearly” the rights of those affected by insecure work including gig workers. “We will be enforcing the rights that people have and are entitled to.”

What are the changes?

Most of the recent announcements are focused on simply enforcing and clarifying existing laws. So for those who are considered workers as opposed to being self-employed, they will already be entitled to rights like holiday and sick pay. The government wants everyone to know what they’re entitled to when they start working for a company.

The only things that might change here are that those are unaware of their rights will have any confusion cleared up and companies who do breach rights may face stricter punishments.

So for example, Uber drivers are now classed as workers so they are now entitled to employee benefits. However, Deliveroo riders are still considered to be self-employed so they are still not eligible for these rights.

Unions’ response

Unions have been more critical of the changes and have said that they’re not enough and are a “wasted opportunity.”

While almost all recommendations from the Taylor review will be adopted, unions have said that this will still leave 1.8 million workers without key rights.

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, General Secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said that “like the Taylor Review, it so far appears big on grandiose claims, light on substance. The most important single thing government could do is introduce effective government enforcement of employment law. They say they will do this but give no indication of how.”

Similarly, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC said “The government has taken a baby step – when it needed to take a giant leap. These plans won’t stop the hire and fire culture of zero-hours contracts or sham self-employment. And they will still leave 1.8 million workers excluded from key protections.”

A recent government report has revealed that 700,000 gig workers are being less than the national minimum wage. This makes up a quarter of people working in the gig economy and makes the situation more worrying for the workers who are falsely considered self-employed.

What do you think about the government’s plans? Would you like to see more changes? Let us know your thoughts. 

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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