The Taylor Review (or, to use its formal title, the Review of Modern Working Practices) was published back in July 2017 and made over 50 recommendations. Renewed media and political interest followed, putting the vexed question of effective and coherent employment rights in the modern workforce back into the spotlight.
The Government has now published its response to these recommendations, with some accepted and others requiring further consultation. The key headlines are as follows:
- One of the Taylor Review’s most discussed recommendations was that the current principles governing employee status – personal service, control and mutuality of obligation – should be codified in primary legislation. Accepting that there is a lack of clarity in this area, the Government will be seeking views on the possibility of codification as part of one of four new consultations launched. It will also be exploring whether personal service, control and mutuality of obligation remain relevant in the modern workforce or whether there is scope for moving to an altogether different test.
- Once a decision on the legislative framework has been made, the Government intends to develop an online tool to help determine employment status.
- The Government has declined to accept the recommendation that the burden of proof should be placed on the employer in disputed employment status cases.
- The right to a written statement of particulars will be extended to all workers (not just employees, as currently).
- The Taylor Review recommended an increase to one month (from the current one week) before continuity of employment is broken. The Government has confirmed its readiness to extend the current period but will be inviting views on how long the extension should be.
- The need to raise awareness of holiday pay entitlements is accepted, and (among other things) views will be sought as to what action can be taken to ensure that workers are receiving the holiday pay that they are entitled to. The Government has stated that it will not, however, pursue the Taylor Review’s recommendation of permitting rolled up holiday pay (on the basis that this has been ruled unlawful by the European Court of Justice).
- The Low Pay Commission has been asked by the Government to assess the impact of introducing a higher national minimum wage rate for non-guaranteed hours.
- The Taylor Review recommended that after 12 months in post agency workers should be able to request a direct contract and zero-hours workers should be able to request a guaranteed hours contract. The Government aims to go further, proposing that all workers should have the right to request a more predictable and stable contract where appropriate.
- The Government accepts the recommendation that HM Revenue & Customs should take responsibility for enforcing the core pay rights of all workers, namely minimum wage, sick pay and holiday.