Taylor Report: Sorting out the mess

Initially the idea of the Taylor report was to address issues found in the “gig” economy, where staff were not employees but took on work on an as and when basis. However, in a development that surprised no-one, some of the recommendations affect all employees.  
Back in the good old days when trains ran on time and kids played football in the streets, life was simple.  You were either an employee or you weren’t (with the exception of casuals who did work as and when they were needed).  Then for reasons that are not clear we deemed it necessary to create a new category called a “worker”.  Ever since then law firms have made a decent living arguing over the minutiae of employment status. 
Now in a change that could well have virtually no impact other than a corrective one, these “workers” are to be called “dependent contractors”.  As far as I can see the only effect of this is that some poor soul will have to go through the whole of employment legislation and change the word “worker” to “dependent contractor”. 
 However, in a development that surprised no-one, some of the recommendations affect all employees and therefore all of our clients.  
 The main changes will be: 

  1. Written contracts of employment are expected to include a description of the statutory rights they are entitled to (I look forward to the contract for a male worker which includes  the right to a risk assessment if he becomes pregnant!)
  2. Contracts should be issued on day one of employment or employers could face a claim for compensation.
  3. “Workers” to be treated as employees for tax purposes and provided with contracts on day one.
  4. The definition of “dependent contractor” to include more self-employed people.  I have no doubt this will have a major effect on the construction industry.
  5. Changes to the current situation where the right to send a substitute to do the work is a determining factor on whether somebody has “worker” rights
  6. Holiday pay to be “rolled up” i.e. paid as it is accrued.  It is not clear which who this will apply to, but presumably it will include casuals and dependent contractors. This will certainly make life easier for some of our clients.
  7. Zero hours’ workers to request regular hours after 12 months.  Most of you will know I am no fan of zero hours’ contracts; rather than manage staff effectively, employers simply stop offering work, with the result that a constant stream of ineffective staff flow through the organisation.

The effect of this report will very much depend on what the government decides to do with it.  As our government is quite preoccupied with other issues at the moment, it is not certain that the recommendations will be put into practice in the near future, but it is better to be aware of what may be coming down the line.   
Meanwhile if you have people working for you who have not been given a contract of employment contact us on 0161 850 1122 and we will help you get ahead of the queue on this issue. 

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