18 January 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The government has published its Good Work Plan, a package of reforms designed to give appropriate rights and protections to 'vulnerable' gig economy workers, agency employees and those on zero-hour contracts.
It is aimed at those working in cleaning, catering, security and other employment formats often used in the workplace and FM sector.
The plan incorporates dozens of recommendations put forward in two independent reviews of the employment market: the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices (to which IWFM contributed) and Sir David Metcalf's Labour Market Strategy.
The reforms reflect the government's aim of helping UK businesses to create better quality jobs - a cornerstone of its modern Industrial Strategy - and to support the increasingly flexible nature of the workplace.
The right for all workers - including those on casual and zero-hours contracts - to receive a written statement of their full leave and pay entitlements on day one of their employment.
The right to be able to request a more predictable and stable contract after a set period of employment.
A commitment to legislate on tackling the uncertainty surrounding employment status.
The ending of Swedish derogation - the loophole that enables firms to pay agency workers less than permanent staff.
IWFM welcomed this latest step in modernising employment legislation and supports the government's view that zero-hours contracts offer the flexibility that some businesses need and some workers prefer - provided they work for both parties.
IWFM states that "this focus on improving the quality of work, with appropriate protections and pay, is vital both for individual workers and for business. Together with increased investment in training and skills to enable people to progress and reach their potential, better employment practices will not only improve people's lives, but will also help to tackle the productivity challenge".
Concurrently, the Low Pay Commission (LPC) published its recommendations on tackling the problem of one-sided flexibility and the impact of introducing a higher minimum wage for non-guaranteed hours.
IWFM fed into the LPC's reporting process by providing it with insight from the workplace and FM sector.
The LPC found that there are positive examples of flexible arrangements and concluded that a higher non-guaranteed hours rate would not effectively address one-sided flexibility and could create other unintended issues.
Instead, the LPC recommended that workers should have the right to a contract that reflects their normal worked hours and to be given reasonable notice of their work schedule, with compensation when this is amended without due notice.
IWFM's statement added: "We will continue to feed into the government's work on workplace legislation to ensure that any future changes on pay and conditions take account of the workplace and FM profession.
Find out more about the government's Good Work Plan here and the LPC recommendations here.