The Good Work Plan was announced just before Christmas 2018 and aims to make a number of changes to employment legislation and strengthen agency workers’ rights in a bid to offer more protection. It will affect the majority of organisations, especially sectors who employ a lot of contract and agency workers like construction, hospitality and logistics.
One of the main objectives of the Good Work Plan is to eradicate the Swedish derogation by April 2020. This is essentially a loophole which allows employers to treat agency workers differently to full-time employees.
For example, some contract or agency workers are employed full-time by a recruitment agency rather than the client they are working for. This means that the temps can be hired out and whatever rate is agreed between agency and client and because it’s the agency who are employing them. Therefore, the Agency Worker Regulations, which state that employers must pay temp workers the same rate as their full-time employees after 12 weeks at the company, do not apply.
The Good Work Plan also proposes to knuckle down on companies who mislead staff about their employment status. This clarification will assist in determining which members of staff are full-time or contract and avoid confusion over individuals who are taxed as self-employed but entitled to holiday pay and other rights.
One of the most beneficial changes which the Good Work Plan will be actioning is that workers will need to receive a written statement of rights on their first day in a new job. This set of terms and conditions will outline the eligibility for sick pay and annual leave, and it will more than likely be the recruitment agency’s responsibility to produce it.
Other key proposals of the Good Work Plan include:
- Giving workers the right to request a more stable contract after 26 weeks of service.
- Increasing the maximum employment tribunal fine by 400% for employers who have shown malice, spite or gross oversight towards staff to £20,000.
- Increasing the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks.
- Extending the time required to break a period of continuous service to make it easier for employees to access their rights.
- Plans to create a workers’ rights enforcement body this year.
Although nothing is going to happen straightaway, it will be interesting to see how the Good Work Plan is implemented and how recruitment software, agencies and employers will deal with the changes.