In response to the challenges caused by the huge growth in the use of casual working and self-employed arrangements, the Government is currently rolling out an extensive programme of employment law reforms, known as the Good Work Plan.
‘…the biggest shake-up of employment law in a generation.’
Businesses and members need not fear, as the aim of these reforms is not to restrict flexibility for employers – which is seen as key for businesses. However, the reforms aim to give much greater clarity on the terms of engagement and make it easier for individuals to understand and enforce their rights.
Here at Citation, we recently carried out research which found that one-third of employers are still unaware of the Good Work Plan, some are incorrectly calculating holiday pay, and many are not prepared for the changes.
With a significant number of the changes due to come into effect on 6 April 2020, it’s our mission to support the membership associations we partner with, included our valued relationship with NAS, to ensure their members keep updated.
Though the reforms will affect every single sector, they’re particularly relevant to those in the construction sector due to the number of contractors and self-employed individuals used by businesses.
Defining employment status
The key issue at the heart of these reforms is that of correctly identifying the employment status of those who work for your business, as employment rights are governed by this.
Though there is no sign of this on the horizon, the government has conceded that this is an area of unacceptable uncertainty and has promised legislation to clarify this.
Many employers in the construction sector may find that individuals who start working for them on a casual basis (such as contractors or similar) may, through regular use, have become integrated with the business to such an extent that they would be classed as employees or workers, with the additional rights this entails.
So what do National Association of Shopfitters members need to know?
Many people currently working in the construction sector, such as contractors, will be doing so without a stable contract, with their hours differing every week.
A key focus area of the Good Work Plan is seeking to address rights for workers without fixed hours, and those working without employee status.
The reforms aim to improve the enforcement of employment rights (especially holiday entitlement and pay), by introducing state enforcement of these rights for ‘vulnerable workers’ (yet to be defined). Over recent years, the rules about what should be included in holiday pay have changed through a series of court decisions on overtime and commission payments.
The Good Work Plan also seeks to improve clarity in terms, for both employees and those workers who have a more casual relationship with the business. It will extend the right to a statutory statement of main terms to all workers, requiring this to be made available by the first day of work, as well as introducing a list of additional information which must be provided.
One of the most significant changes set out in the reforms is allowing some workers the right to request a stable contract. This will not be mandatory, such that those who are happy to work varied hours each week will be able to continue doing so. However, those who would like more certainty about their hours will be able to request a fixed working pattern from their employer. Although we do not yet have an implementation date for this, this change was a major feature in the new Employment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech.
The Good Work Plan itself is complicated and confusing. Managers and employers in the social care sector wishing to know more should download the white paper, produced by HR and employment law experts and our partner, Citation. It clarifies all the major changes and what they mean for both employers and employees.
Got any questions?
Call Citation’s friendly team today on 0345 844 1111 to ask any questions you have about The Good Work Plan, or get in touch here – just mention you’re a NAS member when enquiring.
For additional content that breaks down the different elements of The Good Work Plan, you can also visit citation.co.uk/good-work-plan. It hosts best practice advice and guidance, such as a video on defining employment status and an article summarising the upcoming changes.
Your NAS member benefit – Citation’s HR & Employment Law support
With complex legislation change on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to consider getting the complete backing of HR experts.
NAS members are also entitled to preferential rates on Citation’s HR offering, including:
- Dedicated local consultant
- 24-hour expert advice line
- Full legal documentation, including staff handbooks and contracts of employment
- Access to Atlas, your one-stop-shop HR management tool
Blog by Gillian McAteer – the Head of Employment Law of Associate Member and HR & Employment Law experts, Citation. Qualifying as a solicitor in 1992, Gill has been with Citation since 2003. Her extensive commercial experience has equipped her with invaluable insights into clients’ pain points and enables her to guide businesses to the right solution in any given situation.