Significant Employment Law Reforms To Be Implemented


The government recently published its ‘Good Work Plan’, a document that sets out in detail its “vision for the future of the UK labour market”. 

In July 2017, the government commissioned a report by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, to review the UK’s employment practices in the modern economy. His report made over 50 recommendations. The government has now published its response. Described as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years”, the Good Work Plan looks to implement a large number of legislative changes over the next few years.

 Some changes have already been timetabled: 

  • From 6 April 2019, the maximum Employment Tribunal fine for aggravated breaches of employment rights will increase from £5,000 to £20,000. This is an extra financial penalty where an employer is held by the tribunal to have behaved particularly unreasonably.
  • From 6th April 2020, workers and employees will be entitled to a statement of their terms and conditions of employment from the first day of work (currently it is within two months).
  • From 6th April 2020, the UK exemption known as the ‘Swedish Derogation’ will be removed from the Agency Worker Regulations, meaning that agency workers who are between assignments will be entitled to receive the same pay as their permanent counterparts after 12 weeks’ service.
  • From 6th April 2020, extend the pay reference period used to calculate holiday pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (or for the entirety of employment if the individual has worked less than 52 weeks).

Further recommendations will be introduced over the next few years, although exact timings have not yet been published: 

  • The government recognises the different tests of worker status for employment law and taxation purposes can be confusing. Therefore, new legislation will clarify the employment status tests to help businesses properly classify their workers.
  • Provide key information to agency workers, such as who will pay them, how they will pay them, and an expected minimum rate.
  • Allow all workers, particularly those on variable hours or zero-hour contracts, to request a more stable contract with a more predictable working pattern after 26 weeks’ service.
  • Extend the period required to break continuous service from one week to four weeks. This aims to protect continuity of employment for casual workers and give them access to greater rights. 

If you think any of these proposed changes could affect your business, and need to take further advice, please do not hesitate to contact our employment team on 0161 941 4000 or by email