The Good Work Plan

Published on 20 January 2020

Certain parts of the GWP will come into force on 6 April 2020, while there is no timescale for certain other proposals.

What is happening?

Aspects of the Good Work Plan (GWP) will be implemented by the UK government on 6 April 2020.

Why does it matter?

The GWP has been devised following the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices which was published in July 2017. Following a number of consultations, the government’s proposals in response to the Taylor Review were published in December 2018. Through the GWP, the government has committed to various policy and legislative changes to ultimately strengthen workers’ rights and improve access to justice. The government has described this as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years”. Whether this is true remains to be seen.

There are three key elements to the GWP:
  • fair and decent work
  • clarity for employers and workers
  • fairer enforcement.
All work should be fair and decent and should offer workers realistic scope to develop and progress. One aim of the GWP is stronger rights for agency workers, who typically have shouldered all the risk. Of particular criticism has been the so-called “Swedish Derogation” allowing business to opt out of pay parity requirements. This will be banned so that all agency workers will be entitled to the same pay as permanent workers after 12 weeks in post. Agency workers will also be entitled to receive a key information document from the employment business so they can better understand their basic terms. These are some of the changes which will come into effect on 6 April 2020.

The government has promised to “legislate to improve the clarity of the employment status tests, reflecting the reality of modern working relationships”. Whilst this may be a laudable aim, we are yet to see any detail on how the government proposes to bring this clarity. Nor have we been told how it plans to achieve greater coherence between the employment and tax status tests; two regimes which are, currently, sisters but certainly not twins. 

In respect of enforcement, the government has already implemented a mechanism for “naming and shaming” employers who fail to pay compensation awarded by a tribunal. It has said it also intends to extend existing state enforcement of this to assist vulnerable workers with claims where holiday pay has not been correctly paid. However, this is another of the proposals for which we have no detail or timescale as yet.

What action should you take?

1. Be aware of the key impact of the GWP on your business, particularly if you engage agency workers and will be impacted by the upcoming April changes.

2. Identify practices in your business that may fall foul of the stated aims of the GWP and begin to devise a plan to address these.

3. Keep on top of new proposals for legislative change so you can ensure compliance in good time.

4. Liaise with your HR team to discuss and implement your approach to dealing with the change.

If you would like any assistance, please contact Kelly Thomson or your usual RPC contact.

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