The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

The long awaited Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices better known as the Taylor Review was published on 11th July 2017. Matthew Taylor was asked by the Government to investigate whether current employment practices are still viable in today’s society, particularly given the greater demand for flexible working and increased media focus on zero hours contracts, bogus self-employment, gig economy workers, employment rights and pay following recent high profile court cases.

The Taylor Review states an ambition that “All work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment” and explains at length why this is important.  It concludes that flexible working can be compatible with this goal, recognising that “encouraging flexible work is good for everyone and has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, worker retention and quality of work”.  Flexible working patterns can be invaluable to businesses when managing spikes and dips in demand for their services and as well as benefitting workers who have to organise childcare, education and personal commitments around work. Gig economy companies have also had a positive impact on consumers who can purchase products and services at the touch of an app.

Whilst the report recommends the retention of flexible working, it highlights that in some cases the flexibility is one-sided and recommends a baseline level of protection for all forms of employment in the British economy.

The report in full runs to 116 pages of detailed analysis and recommendations. If you would like to download and read it for yourself you can find a copy here:

Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

To save you the trouble however, we have been through the report and pulled out the recommendations which would affect UK employers. While there are no certainties about which will eventually make it into law, here is a full list:

  1. Keep the distinction between employees and workers, but rename workers who are not employees to “dependent contractors”
  2. Amend the primary legislation defining employees and workers to incorporate the key principals arising from case law on employed/self-employed status
  3. Remove the requirement to have a contract to perform work personally in order to access basic employment rights
  4. Place more emphasis on control in the definition of worker status rather than the requirement to perform work personally
  5. Consider taking account of the subtly different definitions of “worker” in the legislation
  6. Retain the requirement for personal service to be an employee
  7. Amend the law on the National Minimum Wage to make it clear that gig-economy workers allocated work through an app are undertaking a form of output work and will not have to be paid NMW for each hour logged on when there is no work available
  8. Bring employment law and tax employment status closer together to avoid the current confusion. Self-employed should mean the same thing under both systems while workers and employees should both be treated as employed for tax purposes
  9. Extend the right to a written statement of terms to workers as well as employees
  10. Require written statements to be given on day one of employment
  11. Extend written statement of terms to include description of statutory rights
  12. Give a standalone right to compensation if an employer has not given a written statement of terms
  13. Consider increasing the rate of the National Minimum Wage for hours that are not guaranteed by the employer
  14. Preserve continuity of employment where any gap in employment is less than one month, rather than one week
  15. Improve the information to be given to agency workers so they are clear about rates of pay and who is responsible for paying them
  16. Increase the reference period for calculating holiday pay (where pay is variable) from 12 weeks to 52 weeks
  17. Allow holiday pay to be paid on a “rolled up” basis, i.e. by building it into the hourly rate rather than paying it when holiday is taken – currently unlawful
  18. Give agency workers the right to request a direct contract with the end user after 12 months on an assignment
  19. Give those on zero-hours contracts the right to request guaranteed hours after 12 months
  20. Require employers to set up Information and Consultation arrangements when requested by just 2% of the workforce rather than the current 10%
  21. Require larger employers to report on their overall workforce structure – including requests from zero-hours workers for regular hours
  22. Abolish the “Swedish Derogation” which allows agencies to avoid paying agency workers the same as employees after 12 weeks service
  23. Give HMRC enforcement powers in respect of sick pay and holiday pay as well as minimum wage issues
  24. Allow claimants to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal to determine their employment status before they bring a substantive claim
  25. Place the burden on the employer in an Employment Tribunal claim to prove that the claimant is not an employee or worker
  26. Give the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the power to pursue the enforcement of Tribunal awards not just impose a penalty for non-compliance
  27. Allow Employment Tribunals to impose aggravated penalties on employers who do not apply rulings on employment status to similar groups of workers
  28. Allow uplifts in compensation where employers commit subsequent breaches of employment law based on similar working arrangements to those already dealt with by a Tribunal
  29. Consider allowing flexible working requests to cover temporary as well as permanent changes to contracts
  30. Reform SSP to make it a proper employment right available to all workers – accrued in line with length of service
  31. Give individuals a right to return to work following  long-term sickness absence

Following publication of the Taylor Review, the Prime Minister welcomed the report findings however it remains to be seen what legislative commitments she will make. In the meantime if you have an questions or would like more information please contact a member of our specialist employment law team on 01245 893400.

 

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

www.backhouse-solicitors.co.uk