Select Committees publish joint report and draft bill outlining a new framework for modern employment
On 20 November 2017, the House of Commons Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committees published a joint report entitled "A framework for modern employment". The report develops some of the recommendations made in the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices and annexes a draft bill covering the reforms that it proposes the Government take forward.
What is the background?
In July 2017, the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices (the Taylor Review) was published. It made wide-ranging recommendations for the reform of working practices in the United Kingdom. The primary purpose of the Taylor Review was to consider what changes to the legal and regulatory frameworks were needed to protect workers in the modern labour market. In particular, consideration was given to what was needed to protect those working in business models built around flexible work on digital platforms (commonly known as the "gig economy"). Although the proposals contained in the Taylor Review were far-reaching, the reforms which grabbed the headlines were those affecting employment status and atypical working. You can read our full analysis of the implications of the Taylor Review for employers here. The Government is due to publish its response to the Taylor Review by the end of 2017.
What does the report say?
The House of Commons Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committees have taken up the baton from the Taylor Review and produced a report (the Report) and draft bill (Bill). The Report recommends taking forward "the best" of the proposals from the Taylor Review.
What are the next steps?
It is unlikely that the draft Bill will be taken forward in its current form: firstly, the Government has yet to respond to the Taylor Review and secondly, it would be highly unusual for legislation to be developed via Select Committee.
Furthermore, the proposals have had a lukewarm reception, which would suggest that a full public consultation would be needed to refine the draft Bill before it could proceed. Neil Carberry, Managing Director of People and Infrastructure at the CBI said that the proposals in the Report went too far and would "…close off flexibility for firms to grow and create jobs". On the other side of the coin, Jason Moyer-Lee of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (the trade union involved in the Deliveroo case) said that the Report did not go far enough and did not extend basic employment rights such as statutory sick pay to workers. Jim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB union said the proposals "may make a small difference".
Perhaps the true purpose of the Report is to maintain the momentum created by the Taylor Review. The Report says the hope is that the Government "will engage with the spirit of the draft Bill" and "not allow addressing urgent issues in Britain's labour market to fall by the wayside" as a result of the focus on the Brexit negotiations.
In the Autumn Budget published on 22 November 2017, the Government said it will publish a "discussion paper" as part of its response to the Taylor Review. The intention is that this will explore the case and options for longer-term reform to the employment status test for both employment rights and taxation purposes.
You can read the full Report and draft Bill here.