The government have committed to a wide range of policy and legislative changes that are outlined in the Good Work Plan which was issued in December 2018. The Good Work Plan is the Prime Minister’s way of showing that the UK will continue to protect worker’s rights when the UK leaves the European Union. It started with the PM’s commissioning of the Independent Review of Employment Practices in October 2016 by Matthew Taylor.
The changes under this plan will strengthen UK employment rights and employers must plan to prepare for this change, which is expected to come into force in April 2020. The plan focuses on fair and decent work; as part of that improving communication and certainty in the working relationship was key. Therefore, it will now be mandatory to include information about employee’s rights in the written statement of employment. The following points will be required in a written statement:
- How long a job is expected to last or the end date of a fixed term contract.
- How much notice an employer and worker are required to give to terminate the contract.
- Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay.
- Details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave.
- The duration and conditions of any probationary period.
- All remuneration (not just pay) – contributions in cash or kind e.g. vouchers and lunch.
- Which specific days and times workers are required to work.
Please note these changes are in addition to the current mandatory information that must be provided in a written statement of particulars. The written statements will have to be provided to workers and not just employees. Additionally, employers will be required to issue a written statement on day one of employment.
The plan also seeks to offer more flexibility for employees and workers such as the following:
- Employees will have the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks of employment. This is most likely to benefit casual or zero-hour workers.
- Extending the break in continuous service from one week to four weeks to help employees who work irregular hours to qualify for more employment rights that require a particular length of service.
- Protecting agency workers – Agency workers are entitled to the same level of pay as a permanent worker after 12 weeks service unless the agency worker opts out of this right and elects to receive a guaranteed level of pay between their temporary assignments (Swedish Derogation). This opt out will be removed from April 2020 as agency workers are financially worse off when taking this route.
- The reference period used to calculate holiday pay will be extended from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, which is important for individuals who work variable hours.
The plan also focuses on promoting a clear, fair and efficient system for both workers and employers when enforcing employment rights.