Government announces reform in response to the Taylor Review

by Laurie Anstis on December 17, 2018

The government has today published its “good work plan“, which is said to implement 50 out of the 53 recommendations of the Taylor Review. 

It seems a long time since we have had any new employment law proposals, but this brings with it a wide range of proposed changes – mostly points of detail rather than major new initiatives, but even the points of detail are likely to be significant. For instance, a proposal to move the length of time needed to break continuous service from one week to four weeks, so that someone who works for an employer on a casual basis only once a month may be able to acquire the necessary length of service to claim unfair dismissal.

Other proposals including removing the Swedish derogation from the Agency Worker Regulations, along with an enhanced entitlement to written particulars of employment starting from the first day of work and a right for casual workers to request a fixed working pattern. There will also be greater regulation of “umbrella” companies.

Almost every kind of employment relationship will be affected by these changes, if implemented. There are provisions for strengthening the enforcement of employment tribunal awards, including the possibility of penalties of up to £20,000 (rather than £5,000) and naming and shaming employers who do not pay employment tribunal awards.

The document is short on any timetable for implementing these proposed reforms, or when they may come into effect, and in the current political climate there may be issues with whether all or any these changes will make it through Parliament before an election.

The government is notably making the point in the document that these new proposals go further than required by EU law.