UK Government responds to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

In July 2017, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, published a report which set out 53 recommendations for reforming employment Law.   

The government has finally published its response, and it has accepted nearly all of the proposals, while setting out its ‘Good Work’ plan.

In its response, the government makes it clear that all work in the UK labour market should be fair and should allow workers a realistic opportunity for development.  In doing so, it hopes to promote good work across the UK.

The response makes it clear that the UK needs to embrace new ways of working, but also looks to ensure any changes reflect those challenges faced by both businesses and individuals.

The response acknowledges that there are 5 principles that underpin the quality of work, these being:

  • Overall worker satisfaction;
  • Good pay;
  • Participation and progression;
  • Wellbeing, safety and security; and
  • Voice and autonomy.

The response also deals in detail with the need for more transparency and clarity in the UK labour market. The response comes following well publicised controversy surrounding the so called ‘gig economy’, with individuals engaged supposedly as contractors for Pimlico Plumbers, Uber and Deliveroo all found to hold worker status.

The government agrees that it should be easier for both individuals and businesses to determine whether someone is an employee, a worker or self-employed. However, while the government highlights the importance of this clarity, it is also cautious that any changes must not harm any genuine flexibility that works in the current market.

By providing such clarity, it hopes to ensure that fewer ‘workers’ are left fighting for protection that they are legally entitled to, such as the right to statutory sick pay, the right to paid holiday and a clear stance on any onerous contractual terms. It also deals with the protections required for vulnerable workers, such as agency workers and the need to ensure that protections for such workers are more capable of enforcement than is currently the case.

The proposals to achieve this level of transparency include:

  • extending the scope of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate;
  • ensuring all workers receive important information, in a clear format on day one of their employment;
  • providing all workers with a right to request a contract with more secure working conditions;
  • making it easier for atypical workers to establish continuity of employment; and
  • seeking the best way to define ‘working time’.

It is clear that the government’s response is aimed at embracing modern working and trying to complement the flexibility of the UK labour market moving forward, whilst enhancing the focus on fairness and transparency. 

Although there are no plans for immediate implementation of the proposals, it is sensible for HR departments to keep an eye on the ongoing period of consultation that the government is now to commence.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law at 02920 345511 or