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Modern employment practices under scrutiny as PM announces independent review


On the eve of this week’s Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a review of workers’ rights with the long term view of protecting temporary employees and the self-employed. Mrs May has appointed Matthew Taylor, former head of the Labour Policy Unit under Tony Blair, to conduct the review in a bid to ensure that employment practices are “keeping pace with the changing world of work”.

 The landscape of Britain’s flexible labour market

  • 1.7 million temporary workers
  • 4.8 million self-employed
  • 900,000 on zero hours contracts

In the course of the review Mr Taylor will look at concerns that 6 million people do not have basic working rights such as maternity leave, holiday pay, SSP and pensions.
He will also examine such practices as zero hours contracts and their impact on the UK’s flexible workforce.  
This comes as figures released by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) show the number of contractors on zero hours contracts have gone up by over 20% since last year.

In announcing the review, Mrs May said: “Flexibility and innovation are a vital part of what makes our economy strong, but it is essential that these virtues are combined with the right support and protections for the worker”.

FCSA Reaction

The FCSA has welcomed the review but has called for Mr Taylor to take a pragmatic approach and examine how workers are actually treated in the workplace, as opposed to how they are engaged.

Their Chief Executive Julia Kermode said: “The problem doesn’t lie in how people are engaged, the problem lies in how they are treated. I would  suggest that the review focuses on educating employers to treat their workforces properly, whatever their status, so that exploitation cannot happen, as in the recent case of Sports Direct”.

Ms Kermode went on to comment on the changing face of employment practices in the UK:

“Over the last ten years, we have seen a massive economic shift in working practices and choices. Businesses are employing fewer permanent staff and people are shunning permanent employment for more flexible contingent working and they should be treated fairly and respectfully. The Government needs to focus on making that happen.”

Compliant Umbrella Employment

Working with a compliant Umbrella company, like Liquid Friday, means that workers are on a guaranteed hours employment contract and have standard statutory employment rights such as maternity and paternity pay, SSP, holiday pay and a pension.
As full members of the FCSA, Liquid Friday echoes their support of any opportunity to clarify valid working practices.

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