Filed under UpdateFriday, 07 July 2017
What now seems like an age ago (in political time!), Theresa May commissioned a review last October on employment practices in the modern economy, led by Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the RSA and Tony Blair’s former Head of Policy.We have worked closely with REC members and government officials to feed in to this review and received confirmation that the final report will be published next Tuesday (July 11th).
While a lot of the focus in the media has been on the so called ‘gig economy’, the review has looked at broader labour market issues including skills, progression and worker voice. Throughout the review, we have underlined the key role that compliant agencies can provide in Matthew Taylor’s vision of good work. Our CEO Kevin Green gave formal evidence in Cardiff in April, we have attended a number of round tables and submitted written evidence which you can read here.
Ahead of the final report being published, here is a reminder of some of the key messages we have been taking forward:
Flexible working patterns are often driven by worker choice
We welcomed the aims of the review, but reiterated that recommendations shouldn’t constrain the benefits that well managed flexible working models provide to both employers and workers. According to our Flex Appeal report,almost one in three people have worked as an agency worker, contractor or freelancer at some point in their career. This way of working is one which is mainstream and popular and any restrictions should be avoided. At the same time, we absolutely support the focus on workers being treated with decency, compassion and respect no matter what type of contract they are on.
The focus must be on awareness and enforcement of rights
Driving greater awareness of existing rights is a key way forward for both government and the business community. At the REC we have produced an AgencyWorker Rights Factsheet which distills all of the rights and entitlements workers have and what they can do if they are not receiving these. Equally important is effective government enforcement as a means of not only protecting the interests of workers but also of compliant businesses. We welcome the creation of the Director of Labour Market Enforcement, currently held by Sir David Metcalf, and are currently working with him to help inform his firs treport.
Agencies play a key role in enhancing worker voice
Matthew Taylor has focused a lot of attention to increasing employee voice. While there has been a lot of focus on engagement and voice for full time permanent employees there has been much less on voice for those in non-permanent roles. This is why we commissioned the IPA think tank to undertake research on how engagement can be promoted among temporary and contract staff and the key role an agency can play in providing an outlet for the workers on their books and a means of facilitating feedback and voice. Our research with IPA will be published later this month.
Employers can drive good practice through their supply chain
Creating a national commitment to ‘good work’ must involve employers managing their labour supply chains effectively. As well as only using compliant agencies who are members of a professional body, this must involve driving good practice in the way end-users manage their contingent labour. This is already a key element within our wide-ranging Good Recruitment Campaign.
We will be responding the Matthew Taylor report as soon as it comes out and engage with members to take stock of the recommendations. The views and concerns of members will inform our follow-up work with government as they decide whether to accept or reject the specific proposals. As ever, our overriding aim is to ensure that the regulatory landscape is one that enables compliant businesses to thrive.