What does the Taylor Review actually mean for Employers?
The results of the Taylor review, in relation to employment practices, were published on Tuesday and the general advice to the government is that, all work in the UK’s economy should be “fair and decent”. However, what does this mean and is there likely to be any actual impact on employers?
Mr Taylor said that there was a perception that the gig economy put too much power into the hand of employers, “Of all the issues that were raised with us as we went around the country, the one that came through most strongly was what the report calls one-sided flexibility.
“One-sided flexibility is where employers seek to transfer all risk onto the shoulder of workers in ways that make people more insecure and makes their lives harder to manage. It’s the people told to be ready for work or travelling to work, only to be told none is available.”
As a result, the main impact is likely to be on employers who have workers on zero hours contracts or who employ a significant number of short-term agency staff.
With the issues above in mind, Mr Taylor made a number of recommendations for the Government to consider. Some of the key recommendations are to:
- keep the distinction between employees and workers, but rename workers who are not employees ‘dependent contractors’
- put in place strategies to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage
- amend the law on the National Minimum Wage to make it clear that gig-economy workers allocated through an app are undertaking a form of output work and will not have to be paid NMW for each hour logged on when there is no work available
- extend the right to a written statement of terms to workers as well as employees
- consider increasing the rate of the National Minimum Wage for hours that are not guaranteed by the employer
- preserve continuity of employment where any gap in employment is less than one month, rather than one week
- allow holiday pay to be paid on a ‘rolled up basis’
- give agency workers the right to request a direct contract with the end user after 12 months on an assignment
- give those on zero-hours contracts the right to request guaranteed hours after 12 months
- abolish the ‘Swedish Derogation’ which allows agencies to avoid matching end user pay by employing agency workers in a way that allows for pay between assignments
- allow claimants to be able to lodge a claim to the Employment Tribunal (without fee) to determine employment status as a preliminary issue prior to a substantive claim
- consider allowing flexible working requests to cover temporary as well as permanent changes to contracts
- reform SSP to make it a proper employment right available to all workers – accrued in line with length of service
- give individuals a right to return to work following long-term sickness absence
Clearly these are potentially significant changes for employers. However, as this is simply guidance, it is unclear at this stage, what if any weight the government will place on the report and, whether any changes will actually be implemented. In addition, it is worth noting that Labour’s shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said the review did not go far enough for the 4.5 million people in insecure work. Her position is that, “If it looks like a job or it smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed.”
Trade unions also said Mr Taylor had not tackled many of the issues facing workers.
Therefore, it remains to be seen, what changes will occur as a result of this report and how far they will actually go. Nevertheless, this is certainly an area which has captured the public interest and employers need to be aware that change of some sort is likely and should ensure that they take the appropriate advice on steps to be taken as necessary.