On 7 February, the CIPD hosted a roundtable with the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Andrew Griffiths MP. The discussion, which brought together Government officials, employer bodies and trade unions was focused on the Government response to the Taylor Review.
The response, published on the same day, seeks to address the wide-ranging recommendations set out by Matthew Taylor in his review of Modern Working Practices, published in July last year.
The UK has a flexible labour market that broadly strikes the right balance between providing flexibility for employers and employment protections for individuals, but challenges still remain and there was much agreement in the room about the approach needed in order to meet them.
The Government’s commitment to addressing quality of work was welcomed, and represents the first time a government has ever attempted to measure quality of work rather than just quantity. They have been clear in their response that they are looking to work with external organisations to ensure that they pick the right measures, and the CIPD are looking forward to sharing our thinking on this issue.
This very much chimes with the work of the CIPD, who will be publishing its own UK Working Lives survey in the Spring. This report will help to analyse the key measures that make up job quality and help to inform the work the Government are doing to build a set of criteria that define ‘good work.’
The Government have committed to boosting workers’ rights immediately through a series of measures that were well-received at the roundtable. Specifically, they have said they will pass legislation to guarantee a payslip from day one, meaning workers will be able to know how much they are being paid for each hour that they work. In addition, the Government have committed to ensure that all employees, including casual and zero hours workers, know what their rights are from the moment they start their job.
It is equally crucial that we recognise that legislation cannot fix all of the issues identified by the Taylor Review. Many of the solutions, especially those relating to ensuring ‘good work’ in the workplace require behavioural and cultural change, rather than more rules and regulations. There is no doubt that this change is the harder to achieve, but there was much support in the room for the ambitions that the Government set out.
The final piece of the puzzle focuses on enforcement, which will make sure that those found to be breaching their responsibilities are punished. The Government have committed to taking oversight of holiday and sick pay for workers for the first time, as well as quadrupling employment tribunal fines to £20,000 for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight. These measures are welcome, but it is vital that enforcement agencies are properly funded, otherwise the proposals risk sounding good on paper, but having little effect on the ground where it really matters.
There is still much more work to do, and the fact that the Government have launched four consultations alongside the review demonstrates that. The CIPD is looking forward to continuing to work with Government to shape the changes that will be made to ensure that work can be a force for good for everyone.
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At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.