Commenting on the publication of Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green says:
“Agency workers play a vital role in our economy and have been central to the success of our jobs market in recent years. This review recognises the importance of flexibility to UK businesses and to the individuals who choose to work this way.
“Workers’ rights aren’t well understood, and we agree that employers need to engage more effectively with all workers regardless of what type of contract they are on. We also agree that more should be done to support workers who want to progress, and we’re delighted to see the specific recommendation that the Apprenticeship Levy should be looked at again so that it works better for people in non-permanent roles.
“We have some questions about the recommendations, including that employers should be obliged to report on their use of agency workers, as its unclear how this would benefit individuals and could create unnecessary bureaucracy for businesses. However, overall we are pleased to see a balanced and thoughtful review which reflects the value of flexible work to the UK jobs market. The REC is ready to work with government to take these recommendations forward and advise on the impact they could have.”
On the recommendation that ‘gig workers’ at organisations such as Deliveroo and Uber should be assigned ‘dependent contractor’ status, Green says:
“Gig workers should be given entitlements to holiday pay, pension provision and access to training, bringing them in line with agency workers who are already covered by a comprehensive regulatory framework. A new ‘dependent contractor’ category seems like a sensible proposal, which would help to identify legitimately self-employed workers.”
Responding to the recommendations that Swedish Derogation should be repealed, and that the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) should police compliance with the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR), Green adds:
“Swedish Derogation provides agency workers with full employment rights, and was agreed by the government and all stakeholders including unions as part of negotiations in 2009 to implement the Agency Workers Directive. We are concerned that any attempt to amend the AWR may risk watering down the rights for individuals and would create uncertainty for business. We’re keen to discuss ways to ensure compliance with the regulations, rather than reopening the debate about how AWD requirements are implemented into UK law. The underlying priority must be to ensure people can still work flexibly if they wish to, and that employers can continue to benefit from a vibrant temporary and contract market.
“We support effective enforcement activities, but we haven’t seen any evidence that supports the argument for the current system to change. Any changes should be based on hard evidence, and made in full consultation with the business community.”
Notes to editors:
- The REC submitted written evidence to the review of employment practices.
- There are three main employment statuses for employment rights: employee, worker and self-employed. The REC has produced a factsheet to inform agency workers about their rights: www.rec.uk.com/rights