17 July 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has welcomed the publication of the Taylor Review last week, stating that recommendations related to zero-hours contracts and apprenticeships were particularly relevant to the industry.
Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices considers the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations. It sets out seven steps towards fair and decent work and contains several principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market. It also includes recommendations relevant for the FM industry, such as on zero-hours contracts, productivity, flexible working, health and well-being, education and training and the National Living/Minimum Wage.
Sofie Hooper, senior policy adviser at BIFM, said: "We welcome the acknowledgement that better-designed work can make an important contribution to tackling the complex challenge of low productivity. This ties in with the findings of The Workplace Advantage report by The Stoddart Review that a better-designed and effective workplace can improve productivity by 1per cent to 3.5 per cent - potentially delivering a £20 billion uplift to the UK economy.
"As a professional body promoting excellence for the benefit of practitioners, the economy and society through the provision amongst other things of qualifications and training, BIFM echoes the Taylor Review's conclusions that it is vital to individuals and the health of our economy that everyone feels they have serious and realistic progression potential.
"BIFM is especially pleased to see the Taylor Review's recognition that there should be greater flexibility surrounding the apprenticeship scheme. In addition, we welcome the acknowledgement that work and individual health are strongly related and that we need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health."
The review makes the following recommendations that are particularly relevant to the FM sector:
- Zero-hours contracts should be maintained as such contracts offer flexibility to those people with different needs and priorities. Government should, however, develop legislation that gives agency workers and those on zero-hours contracts the right to request a fixed-hours contract after having been employed for a long period of time.
- Government should require companies beyond a certain size to report on how many requests they have received (and number agreed to) from zero-hours contract workers for fixed hours after a certain period.
- The Low Pay Commission (LPC) should be tasked with examining how a higher National Minimum Wage rate might apply to non-guaranteed hours.
- The LPC should have its remit widened so that it can both make recommendations to the government on what needs to change (including NMW rates) to improve quality of work in the UK as well as work with employers, employees and stakeholders to promote quality work across all regions and sectors (specifically mentioning the hospitality sector).
- Government should reform Statutory Sick Pay so that it is explicitly a basic employment right, comparable to the National Minimum Wage, for which all workers are eligible regardless of income from day one. It should be payable by the employer and should be accrued on length of service, in a similar way to paid holiday currently. Government should ensure that there is good awareness of the right among workers and businesses.
- The Institute for Apprenticeships should work with sectors using high levels of lower-paying and atypical work to ensure that they are making best use of the current apprenticeship framework.
- Government should consider making the funding generated by the Apprenticeship Levy available for high-quality, off-the-job training other than apprenticeships.
- The Institute for Apprenticeships should also be tasked with reporting on and addressing disparities in the take-up of apprenticeships for different groups.
- The emphasis in industrial strategy and sector deals on technology and innovation should be linked to the importance of human factors in driving productivity and enabling more rewarding working lives. Upskilling the labour market through lifelong learning will play an important role in dealing with the challenges of automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
- The government should make sure that the forthcoming industrial strategy makes the most of the opportunities a more productive workforce can deliver, especially in lower-paid, and lower-skilled sectors, identifying ways in which automation and AI can enhance the quality of work.
BIFM contributed to the Taylor Review by making the case for a more flexible approach to the new Apprenticeship scheme, for example, by opening it up to non-apprenticeship training opportunities. As part of its submission, the Institute also shared The Workplace Advantage report, Agile Working Change Management Guidance Note and Mind the Pay Gap: The Living Wage and Zero Hours (a Leaders' Forum discussion paper).
The review's recommendations have been handed over to the government, which is able to implement the actions suggested. At the launch event held on 11 July, Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the work carried out, but at this point has not committed to implementing the recommendations. Instead, she announced that the government would respond to the report in detail later in the year.
However, it was indicated that while there was a need to avoid overbearing regulation, the government would make sure people have the rights and protections they need. She added that any potential proposals would retain the flexibility that people value and that the government would be looking to increase the National Living Wage.
Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices can be found here.
The Stoddart Review - The Workplace Advantage can be found at http://stoddartreview.com/