We have previously reported on the ‘Modern Working Practices’ Review by Matthew Taylor. One of the focuses of the Review was the “gig economy”, where the aim was to look at how employment practices need to change to fit with how modern businesses operate.

The Government has recently published its response to the Review, together with four consultation documents, inviting views on how best to deliver some of the recommendations.

Here are some of the key areas covered by the consultation papers:

  1. The Government agreed it should be easier to determine whether someone is an employee, a worker or self-employed, and says it is committed to improving clarity and certainty. The consultation process will look at the best way to achieve this.
  2. It was acknowledged that some agency workers are in a vulnerable position, and the consultation will look at how such workers might receive “enhanced protection”.
  3. The Government said it is committed to providing a right to request a more “predictable contract” for all workers, including zero hours and agency workers. However, it is not clear what exactly is meant by this.
  4. Extending the right to receive a ”written statement of particulars” to all workers, not just employees.
  5. The Government accepts there is a case for the State (for example, HMRC) being responsible for enforcing a basic set of core pay rights for the most vulnerable workers. The Government wants to assess the extent of the problem these workers have in accessing these rights, and the means of enforcing these rights in the future.
  6. Seeking views on how it could be made simpler for individuals to bring enforcement action against employers who do not pay Employment Tribunal (ET) awards;
  7. The recommendation in the Review about “naming and shaming” employers who do not pay ET awards in a reasonable time was accepted by the Government, and it is seeking views on how best to achieve this.

What next following the Government’s response to the Taylor Review?

There has been criticism surrounding the Government’s response, as many were expecting something more concrete at this stage, rather than just further consultation. Others have welcomed further consultation.

The British Chambers of Commerce stated:

“The government is right to consult further on many of the recommendations of the Review and should work closely with business and employees to protect against any unintended consequences which would undermine the competitiveness of the UK labour market”.

The four consultations will close in May/June 2018. We will have to wait for the outcome of the consultation process, to see what actually ends up being implemented and finding its way into new law. Given what is currently occupying the Government’s agenda, it may be some time before we see any action.