The Government’s response* to the Taylor Review of modern working practices has been published and the headline message is that nearly everything that Mr Taylor proposed – and that was quite a long list of 53 recommendations – appears to have been accepted.

However, using the term ‘accepted’ could give the impression that all the recommendations are now to be put into practice; in this regard the government press release would have probably been more accurate if it had said something along the lines of – we accept the points that you are making and quite like these ideas, but we are going to have to have a long think about if we can make these changes and what form they will take.

The vast majority of the Taylor Review recommendations are going to be the subject of public consultation:

  • Enforcement of employment rights replies before 16 May 2018;
  • Agency worker proposals replies before 9 May 2018;
  • Measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market before 23 May 2018; and
  • Employment status before 1 June 2018.

What happens next?

Following the public consultation process, all responses will be taken into consideration and a Government response to the consultation will then be published. Draft legislation might follow, or there might be further consultation.

There is no timescale given as to when any actual changes could happen. It could take years, or it may be that no changes are ever implemented. Remember, we are approaching seven years since public consultation was launched in respect of proposed amendments to the holiday provisions in the Working Time Regulations from 1998!

Brexit has also got to be taken into account. That is going to take up the majority of parliamentary time, at least for the next year. How will the Government find time to make the legislative reform required, particularly on such complex areas as employment status and the gig-economy? After all, it is acknowledged that “the changes proposed in the review would represent the single largest shift in employment status since the Employment Rights Act in 1996”.

So whilst this may represent a huge potential development, we might have to wait years before we see any reforms made.