The Good Work Plan: Fair & decent work – New right to request a more stable contract

Following our recent general overview of the upcoming legislation changes proposed under The Good Work Plan published on 17th December 2018, this mini blog explains the government’s strategy to provide fair and decent work and how it intends to implement that.

To address the issue of the growing gig economy and what the Taylor Review termed “one-sided flexibility” resulting in many workers finding themselves on insecure, atypical contracts for long periods of time, the proposed reforms include legislation to allow a worker the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service.

The example provided is that of a zero hours worker who tends to work at least 30 hours each week, requesting a contract that guarantees working time of at least 30 hours a week, enabling more certainty and financial security.

The request would be dealt with in the same way as a flexible working request and the employer would be required to respond within three months.

Another measure suggested was the introduction of a higher minimum wage rate for non-guaranteed hours which had not been agreed at least a week in advance.

The government has advised that following advice from the Low Pay Commission, it will not be adopting this proposal, however, alternatives have been put forward which will be subject to further consultation such as:

  • A right to switch to a contract which reflects normal hours. This is not about a worker requesting a change to the amount of work they do, but rather proper recognition of their normal hours. The LPC believe that workers already worried about raising issues in the workplace are less likely to raise a ‘request’ so the right needs to be stronger than this.
  • A right to reasonable notice of work schedule – to encourage employers to provide workers with their work schedule in advance so that individuals can plan their lives.
  • Compensation for shift cancellation or curtailment without reasonable notice –to discourage employers from cancelling shifts at the last minute or partway through a shift.

We will provide an update upon this when further details are released.

If you require any information regarding the employment law reforms following the Taylor Review please do not hesitate to get in touch by email or telephone.

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