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The biggest overhaul of Employment Law in twenty years

View profile for Susan Mayall
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Following the Matthew Taylor Good Work Review, the Government has announced what it calls the biggest overhaul of Employment Law in twenty years.

The key proposals are as follows:

1) changing the rules on continuity of employment, so that a break of up to four weeks (currently one week) between contracts will not interrupt the continuity

2) extending the right to a written statement of terms and conditions to workers (as well as employees), and requiring the employer to give it on the first day of work (rather than within two months)

3) legislation to streamline the employment status tests so they are the same for employment and tax purposes, and to avoid employers misclassifying employees/workers as self-employed.

4) a ban on employers making deductions from staff tips.

5) increasing the penalty for employer's aggravating conduct from £5,000 to £20,000

6) abolishing the Swedish Derogation, which gives employers the ability to pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances.

The review does not tackle the issue of Zero Hour contracts directly, however, the government is proposing a right to request a fixed working pattern for those who do not have one, after 26 weeks' on a non-fixed pattern.

This may take the form similar to an employees right to request flexible working hours. An employer has considerable discretion when it comes to refusing an employees request, so there is some debate as to whether this proposal will improve things for those on Zero Hour Contracts.

Furthermore, neither the Matthew Taylor Good Work Review or the Government has provided any proposals on how the new reforms will be enforced. Legislation to further clarify the employment status of employees has been long awaited and is welcomed by many. The Government has announced that the detailed proposals will be published in due course. However, establishing clear definitions is difficult and the trick will be to make meaningful improvements on the definitions we already have.

If you require assistance with any of the topics discussed in this article, you can contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 at your earliest convenience.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.