10 February 2020
The Good Work Plan: Upcoming Changes for April 2020 and Beyond
The government is currently rolling out an extensive programme of employment law reforms known as the Good Work Plan, in response to the challenges caused by the huge growth in the use of casual working and self-employed arrangements.
The aim of these is not to restrict flexibility, which is recognised as being key for businesses. Instead, they aim to make it easier for individuals to understand and enforce their rights and provide much greater clarity on the terms of engagement.
Ahead of the changes due to come into effect on April 6 2020, Build UK partner Citation carried out research on the Good Work Plan. Despite this fast-approaching date, they found that one-third of employers are still unaware of the Plan, some are incorrectly calculating holiday pay, and many feel unprepared for the changes.
Almost every business in the UK will be affected by the changes. However, they’re particularly important for the construction sector due to the number of contractors and self-employed individuals.
Defining employment status
The issue at the heart of these reforms is that of correctly identifying the employment status of those who work for your business, as this governs employment rights.
Though there is no sign of this on the horizon, the government has conceded that this is an area of unacceptable uncertainty and has promised legislation to provide clarity.
Individuals who start working for businesses on a casual basis may, through regular use, have become integrated with the business to such an extent that they would be classed as employees or workers, entitling them to additional rights.
How will the construction sector be impacted?
A key focus area of the Good Work Plan is seeking to address the rights of those working without employee status or without fixed hours.
By introducing state enforcement of these rights for ‘vulnerable workers’ (yet to be defined), the reforms seek to improve the enforcement of employment rights, particularly holiday entitlement and pay.
Following a series of court decisions on commission payments and overtime, holiday pay calculations (specifically what should be included) have changed in recent years. The method for calculating entitlements to those working variable hours will change significantly, from taking an average of the previous 12 weeks worked to calculating the average over the previous 52 weeks worked.
The Good Work Plan also aims to improve clarity in terms of workers who have a more casual relationship with the business, as well as employees. It will extend the right to a statutory statement of main terms to all workers, requiring this to be made available on the first day of work, as well as introducing a list of additional information which must be provided.
Significantly, the reforms will allow some workers the right to request a stable contract. This will not be mandatory, in recognition that some workers are happy to work varied hours each week, but those who would like more certainty will be able to request a fixed working pattern from their employer.
Although there is currently no implementation date for this, the change was a prominent feature in the new Employment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. Given the complexity of the topic, managers and employers wanting to know more can download the white paper produced by Build UK Partner Citation, which clarifies the significant changes and what they mean for both employers and employees.
If you have further questions or need support, you can call Citation directly via 0345 844 1111, or get in touch here and mention that you’re enquiring through Build UK.