Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review into modern working practices, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

The Taylor Review has the potential to change how we look at the future of work, which is about quality of work and not simply quantity. Translating the ambition into practice has an added importance given some of the additional challenges we face in the UK, from access to skills to labour market regulation post Brexit.

We have been calling for greater clarity over workers’ rights for a long time, and therefore welcome the main thrust of the recommendations to ensure fairer treatment for gig economy workers without losing the flexibility which we know many of them value. We also support the proposals to clarify people’s employment status and rights and back plans to require employers to provide details of terms and conditions of employment to workers as well as employees.

While we welcome the proposals for a stronger test of supervisory relationships in order to ensure workers get the benefits they are entitled to, we need to ensure that the framework for enforcing this is practical, otherwise we risk discouraging employers from providing flexible roles and opportunities that many people benefit from.

Changing regulation is not the silver bullet

However, changing regulation is not the silver bullet that will fix the problems with the world of work. Businesses need to take greater responsibility for the quality of work, opportunities for progression, and fair treatment of all their workers. The review rightly highlights the need for wider changes to boost the number of people in better paid, better quality work, such as enhancing the enforcement of existing standards, improving the quality of careers advice and guidance, boosting life-long learning and making the apprenticeship levy more flexible. We welcome plans to strengthen labour market oversight, including greater transparency and reporting, as well as a bigger role for the Low Pay Commission and joint working and co-ordination between institutions.

Right to request minimum hours for zero-hours workers will strengthen employee rights and maintain flexibility

The proposals to create new rights for agency workers to request contracts that guarantees hours which better reflect the actual hours worked are welcome. We also welcome the proposal to allow zero-hours workers to be able to request minimum hours if they have been with the same employer for 12 months, which will maintain flexibility while ensuring that people can move onto contracts that might suit them better.

New National Minimum Wage should be treated with caution

However, the recommendation for a new higher NMW rate for non-guaranteed hours should be treated with caution. There is a risk that any changes do not result in a reduction of jobs or opportunities for the people that need it as employers react to concerns of the growing cost of labour. We also have reservations about the practicality of the proposal to introduce minimum piece work rates.

Corporate governance best way to improve quality of work

Crucially, Taylor stresses that the best way to improve the quality of work is through effective corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within organisations and flags the need to boost productivity and job quality through working more closely with low pay employers and sectors. It is vital the Government develops these ideas as part of industrial strategy to ensure that the Taylor Review has lasting impact on work quality in the UK.

The CIPD has responded to all six key areas of the Review, which are security, pay and rights, progression and training, balance of rights and responsibilities, representation, opportunities for under-represented groups and new business models. Please find the response here.

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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.