In October 2016, the government commissioned a report by Mathew Taylor (Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts) into how employment practices may need to be revised as a consequence of developments in the labour market and modern business models. The Taylor Review report has now been published and its recommendations include wide-ranging changes to employment law and practices. Some of the key elements are summarised below.

  • There should be a clearer outline of the tests for employment status.
  • The category of ‘worker’ that is neither self-employed nor an employee but does benefit from some employment rights, should be renamed as a ‘dependent contractor’.
  • The test for a ‘dependent contractor’ should focus on the degree of control being exercised rather than the requirement to perform work personally.
  • The Written Statement of Particulars that must currently be provided to all employees within the first two months of employment should be extended to ‘dependent contractors’ and should be provided at the start date.
  • Independent contractors should have the right to receive rolled-up holiday pay.
  • The reference period for calculating statutory holiday pay should be increased from 12 to 52 weeks.
  • Consideration should be given to a higher national minimum wage rate for hours of work not guaranteed under a contract.
  • A right should be introduced for those who have worked under a zero-hours contract for 12 months, to request a contract that provides for guaranteed hours reflecting the hours actually worked.
  • Statutory sick pay should be made into an entitlement for all workers from day one regardless of their level of income.
  • A right should be created to return to the same or similar job after a period of long-term sickness.
  • The period that breaks continuity of employment after the end of an engagement followed by reengagement should be extended from 1 week to 1 month.
  • The process to enforce unpaid employment tribunal awards should be made easier and there should be a naming and shaming scheme for employers who do not pay within a reasonable period.
  • National Insurance contributions for employees and the self-employed should be moved closer to parity.

The Government does not have the benefit of a majority in the House of Commons so it may struggle to secure any changes should it agree with the recommendations in the first place. Furthermore, any proposed new legislation will be subject to a consultation process so there is likely to be a significant delay before we see any changes to the law. We will keep you updated with any developments.

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