New protections for millions of vulnerable workers

16 Jul 2019 12:51 PM

The government has today announced its latest measures to advance the 'Good work plan', the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation.

Millions of low paid workers in the UK could receive more workplace protections in a move announced by the Business Secretary Greg Clark today (Tuesday 16 July 2019).

The government has announced its latest measures to advance the ‘Good work plan’, the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation. These include:

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

We have a labour market that we can be proud of with more people in work than ever before. But it’s right that hard-working people see their rights upgraded and are protected from exploitative practices, whilst ensuring we create a level playing field for the vast majority of businesses who comply with employment laws.

A new single labour market enforcement body will bring together our different enforcement partners putting all our expertise in one dedicated place, better protecting workers and enforcing their rights now and into the future. Matthew Taylor’s appointment as Director of Labour Market Enforcement, the architect of our ‘Good work plan’, demonstrates our commitment to the largest upgrade in workers’ rights in a generation and preparing our labour market for the economy of the future.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

Stronger understanding and enforcement of employment rights is essential for creating fairer, more inclusive workplaces. The creation of a single enforcement body is an important step towards achieving better working lives for the UK’s most vulnerable workers. We welcome the government’s proposals and the recognition that tougher enforcement needs to go hand in hand with better support for businesses, many of which can fall foul of employment legislation unwittingly.

The government today launched a consultation on proposals for a new single labour market enforcement body. A new single body would create a strong, recognisable single brand and would make it easier for individuals to know where to go for help. It will also be better able to support businesses to help them comply with the law.

Take part in the consultation.

The proposals include the body having consistent powers to enforce payment of the minimum wage, labour exploitation and modern slavery, along with holiday payments for vulnerable workers and safeguarding agency workers. The consultation considers whether the body should also enforce workplace discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Notes to editors

Measures outlined in the package announced today form part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which sets out how the whole of the UK can build on its strengths, extend them into the future, and capitalise on new opportunities.

The government is inviting views on enhancing workers’ rights across the country and has published its consultation on creating a single enforcement body. The consultation will be open for 12 weeks.

The government has already spent £33 million a year on enforcement covering:

The government will be publishing the 2019 to 2020 strategy of the former Director of Labour Market Enforcement, Sir David Metcalf. Government is grateful to Sir David for producing this strategy prior to his retirement and for all his hard work in this role. We will carefully consider the 12 recommendations set out in this strategy and will respond in due course.

Sir David Metcalf, the first Director of Labour Market Enforcement, retired from his role at the end of June 2019. Matthew Taylor will take up the role of interim DLME on 1 August 2019.

The ‘Good work plan’ was announced in December 2018 and formed the government response to the independent Taylor Review of impact modern working practices (2017). The review found that the strength of the UK’s labour market is built on flexibility but that a clearer focus was needed on quality of work as well as the quantity of jobs. The government has already taken action by: