On Monday 17 December, 2018 a plan was introduced by the Government called ‘The Good Work Plan’ which includes various proposed reforms to employees’ rights.
The plan proposes a number of reforms, such as entitling workers to be informed of their rights on their first day of commencing employment. This means that employers would need to make workers aware of their specific entitlement to things such as sick leave and holidays.
If the proposals come into law, it will also mean an increase in the amount of compensation that employees can receive at the employment tribunal. The Government proposes to quadruple the maximum employment tribunal penalty for employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight in breaching employment rights from £5,000 to £20,000.
There are also suggestions of introducing a more distinct test for establishing who and who is not classed as an employee.
What does this mean for agency workers?
It is not unbeknown that agency workers and workers on ‘zero hours contracts’ or other such arrangements, seem to have less rights than your average employee.
The rights of agency workers have, up until now, been set out in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010. This excludes agency workers from the right to receive the same pay as workers who were directly recruited with a contract of employment.
The Government proposes to repeal this so-called ‘Swedish derogation’ contained in the Agency Workers Regulations and this should entitle agency workers to the same rate of pay as other workers.
In short, the proposals set out in the reforms, will mean that agency workers will be much better protected in terms of their employment rights.
When will this happen?
At the moment, the plan has been introduced by the government but still needs to pass through parliament before it will become law and take effect.
However, if successful, the Government are suggesting that this could be one of the biggest and most significant reforms to employment rights in over 20 years.