Sick and holiday pay to be enforced for zero-hours workers

12 Feb 18

The government has announced plans for across-the-board sick and holiday pay, and greater security for workers on zero hour contracts.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published its Good Work Plan, which responds to last year’s Taylor review, which looked at the impact of new ways of working on workers’ and employers’ rights and obligations.

The government’s report, published on 7 February, outlines plans to make sick and holiday pay enforceable for low-paid workers for the first time.

People on zero-hour or agency contracts will be able to request a more stable contract, potentially leading to greater financial security.

Unpaid interns will also be given greater protections and will not be allowed to do the same jobs as paid workers.

Employers who neglect workers’ rights will be forced to pay quadrupled employment tribunal fines, which will stand at £20,000.

Prime minister Theresa May said: “We recognise the world of work is changing and we have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes.”

Business secretary Greg Clark added: “We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare out employment rules to reflect the new challenges.”

The government has announced consultations on employment status, enforcement of employment rights, measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market and agency workers recommendations.

However, trade unions expressed unhappiness with the government’s response.

In an open letter to Clark, Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain, accused the government of “kicking the problem into the long grass”.

He said: “Similar to the Taylor Review itself, the announcement is big on grandiose claims, light on substance and contains a couple of good but modest proposals, as well as a couple of terrible ones.”

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