Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Thousands of Sheffield workers to get new employment rights

Thousands of Sheffield workers to get new employment rights

Undoubtedly, that's good news for some workers.

The government today promised that "detailed consultation examining options, including new legislation", will focus on reconsidering employment status, "to make it easier for both the workforce and businesses to understand whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed - determining which rights and tax obligations apply to them".

Theresa May has announced plans to overhaul the rights of millions of workers including those in the UK's gig-economy, promising them better holiday and sick pay rights and stronger contracts. The proposals would only affect those people without a contract or who work flexibly, and are now unprotected by their employment relationships. It said all work in the United Kingdom economy should be "fair and decent".

The government is pledging a crackdown on firms where unpaid interns do the job of a worker, and will quadruple to £20,000 the fine for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight in treatment of staff. It "may" raise "penalties for employers that have previously lost similar cases".

"However, while they have accepted nearly every single recommendation from the Taylor Review, and in some cases even gone further, the lack of action on tax reform is a wasted opportunity".

It has committed to "not just protect but build on workers' rights" in its response to an independent review, led by labour market expert Matthew Taylor.

"The most important single thing government could do is introduce effective government enforcement of employment law".

The government has also proposed more transparency around agency workers' contractual arrangements, including a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages. It also asked the Low Pay Commission to consider a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts.

The reform package also includes measures to boost take-up of existing employment rights.

Stephen Martin, the director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: "This could be the biggest shake-up of employment law in generations".

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: "Launching four consultations and merely "considering" proposals is just not good enough".

The government has issued its response to the Taylor Review, promising an improvement in employment rights for millions of people in "insecure work", such as the gig economy.

Flexible workers will also be able to request to move to a more stable contract. "Successive governments have been removing the differences in how each category of employee/worker can be treated".

Although the government says that almost all the recommendations of the Taylor review will be adopted, unions have said the plan will still leave 1.8 million workers without key rights. "Given wider political priorities, there's a real possibility that nothing will come of this before Brexit". A proposal to reduce the difference between the National Insurance contributions of employees and the self-employed was rejected previous year and the government said there are no plans to revisit the issue. But this needed to be followed up with delivery of the promise to abolish Class II NICs for the self-employed, Cherry said. "Deliveroo has created well-paid flexible work for 15,000 riders across the United Kingdom", a spokesperson said. "That's why we welcome this consultation and the chance to work with the government to end the current legal trade off between flexibility and security". So, for example, people who are officially classified as workers are already entitled to sick pay and holiday pay, but many of them don't know that.

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