Government Introduces ‘Good Work Plan’
In December 2018, the government published the ‘Good Work Plan’, designed to outline new rights and ways of working for the 21st century workplace. Below are some of the proposed reforms to be aware of:
A new right for workers to request a more predictable and stable contract may be introduced. This would allow workers who work variable hours to ask for a fixed working pattern after 26 weeks of service, and this may include requests for fixed days of work or minimum hours.
It is currently proposed that an employee would have the right to make the request but the plan does not obligate employers to agree the request. Further, the new right may be subject to rules such as those which apply when an employee makes a request for flexible working including potentially certain prescribed reasons for refusing the request.
The government has committed to ’improve the clarity of the employment status tests in order to improve the reality of modern working relationships’. Although no further information has been provided to clarify what this will involve, it is a key development as it should ensure that legislation reflects the modern workplace.
The government will also produce detailed proposals in order to align employment status frameworks with employment rights and tax.
From 6 April 2020, the use of contracts which withhold agency workers’ equal pay rights will be banned in order to stop employers from abusing the Swedish derogation. The derogation currently allows agency workers to exchange their right to be paid equally to permanent counterparts if they enter into an agreement where they are paid between assignments.
Employees will also receive protection from unfair dismissal or detrimental treatment for enforcing these new rights.