As we have previously reported, Matthew Taylor was appointed by the Government to conduct an independent review of how employment practices need to adapt to fit with the way modern businesses are run. The review was published yesterday, to mixed reaction. We run through some of the key recommendations made in the review.
The recommendations include:
- In relation to employment status, retain the current classifications of employee, self-employed and worker, but re-name the worker category “dependant contractor”. To identify whether someone falls into the re-named category, there should be a new ‘test’, with greater emphasis on the amount of “control” that the person who is receiving the services has over the person providing the services, but less emphasis on the “personal service” factor.
- Recognising the confusion that can arise when the tests for employment status in employment law, and the tests for employment status in tax law do not align, the two systems should be more closely matched.
- Require those who engage dependent contractors to issue them with a written statement of terms, similar to that issued to employees.
- Bring in a stand-alone right for individuals to make a claim in the employment tribunal for compensation if their employer does not give them a written statement of terms. Currently, there is no free-standing right to claim such compensation; employees may only be awarded compensation for failure to provide a written statement where they have also made a successful claim for unfair dismissal, breach of contract or discrimination, for example.
- Extend from one week to one month the length of time that someone can have a break in service without it affecting their continuity for certain employment rights.
- Give dependent contractors the chance to receive rolled-up holiday pay.
- To increase the “voice’’ that workers have in the workplace, look at how effective the current Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations are, and consider lowering the current threshold for the number of employees that wish to implement an information and consultation arrangement from 10% to 2% of the workforce.
- Require certain businesses to publish information relating to their use of agency services, and the requests they have received from zero hours workers for fixed hours of work.
- In relation to employment tribunal fees, the review did not recommend that they be abolished, but it did suggest that where someone is making a claim that depends on them having a particular employment status, they should have access to the tribunal to have their status decided without having to pay a fee.
- In tribunal cases where employment status is in dispute, the employer should be required to show that the person making the claim against them is not entitled to the rights being claimed, rather than the person making the claim having to prove that they are.
- “Name and shame” employers who do not pay out compensation to claimants in time, when they have been ordered to pay it by a tribunal.
- Pay statutory sick pay to all workers no matter how much they earn, but accrue it based on length of service.
- In order to assist workers who have been absent due to sickness for a long period to get back to work, consider giving them a right to return to the same or similar job.
Some commentators have said the review is disappointing and did not go into enough detail or provide enough clarity, given its aims and objectives, whereas others have stated that the recommendations are controversial and go too far. We will have to wait and see which of these recommendations the Government gets behind and pushes forward into law.