The long awaited Taylor Review was published on 11th July 2017 amid much media attention. The report, which was commissioned by Theresa May in 2016, seeks to undertake a wide-ranging review of employment legislation and practice in light of recent changes in the modern workplace including the so-called “gig economy”.
In a report running to over 100 pages, it highlights the flexibility and competitiveness of the UK labour markets on the international stage and states clear aims to improve working conditions and fairness, whilst maintaining the benefits of the flexibility enjoyed by many.
Interestingly, the report aims to promote improved management and responsibility in the workplace, with the Government accountable.
The full report can be read here. Among the key recommendations for the Government to consider include:
- Clarity on “self-employed”, “worker” “and “employed” categories. Suggestions had been made previously that there should be a refinement of these categories to mirror the tax system which simply uses the categories “employed” or “self-employed”. The Taylor report rejects this suggestion and suggests a new category in employment law – “dependent contractor” – defined as workers without employment rights. The report explains that in this context “control” is more important than “personal service” leading therefore to greater employment rights and that “dependent contractors” should have the right to a written statement at the commencement of work, and a right to compensation where this does not happen.
- Agency worker and zero hours contracts – agency workers should be able to request an employment contract after 12 months on the same job. Workers on “zero hours” contracts, should be able to request a contract that reflects the level of hours of work that they usually carry out after 12 months.
- National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Insurance – the report proposes that the definition of “working time” is adapted for the purpose of the NMW and recommends that changes are introduced to reflect where hours are not guaranteed. It also suggests developing the work and role of the Low Pay Commission. Self-employed individuals should have to pay the same level of national insurance as employed workers. Currently two people doing exactly the same job but on different employment contracts would pay entirely different levels of NI and the report recommends that this should change.
- Holiday and sick pay – workers should be able to choose to receive enhanced rates of pay instead of taking holiday, if they wish. It is also suggests that Statutory Sick Pay becomes an employment right – but that this should be based on length of time in employment to be fair to employers where workers have not worked for six months.
The report also states that will be no material change in the Employment Tribunal fees which were recently introduced. The decline in the number of Employment Tribunal applications has suggested a perceived balance of power to employers. The report states that the Government should keep it under review.