Employment Rights and the Future for Workers

By April 30, 2019Legal Update, Top Tip
Employment Rights and Workers | HR Solutions

In relation to employment status, did you know that all employees are workers, but not all workers are employees? It is important for employers to distinguish the two correctly from the outset, as the statutory rights attached to each are different and getting this wrong can be costly.

What is employment status? 

The dividing line between those who are employed and those who are self-employed has become increasingly blurred. Employment tribunals, as well as HMRC and social security authorities all struggle with the dilemma of categorising those whose work incorporates features of both types of work. The situation has been further confused by the definition of a “worker” adopted in, for example, the Working Time Regulations. For the employer it is important to choose the appropriate type of arrangement to meet their business needs and to be aware of the implications for individual’s rights, even when workers are non-employees.

There are differences in status and rights across:

  • Employed v Self-employed Workers
  • Employee Rights
  • Workers
  • Agency Workers
  • Part-time Workers
  • Fixed-term Workers
  • Casual Workers
  • Zero Hours Contracts
  • Gap Year, Sandwich Students and Work Experience
  • Internships – Graduate Talent Pool (GRP)
  • Volunteers
  • Members of the Clergy
  • Construction Workers
  • IR35
  • Employee Shareholder Contracts.

New laws upgrade workers’ rights

In July 2017 the government published The Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy (The Taylor Review), which recommended better clarification around employment status and greater protection for workers. As a result, new laws which have recently been dubbed as the “largest upgrade in workers’ rights for over 20 years” have been published and are mostly due to come into effect in April 2020.

The new laws will radically change the approach employers need to take toward workers and agency staff (and some changes affect all employees too!). It will certainly require your time, and may involve financial costs to implement and maintain the changes, so the time to start preparing is now.

Brexit and employment rights 

Many UK employment rights which may affect your business and its workers are detailed within the Employment Rights Act 1996.  In relation to Brexit, the right to work of EU nationals is already subject to change. The white paper, ‘The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union’ proposes that there will be no changes to employment rights on the day the UK exits the EU and that any future developments will at least maintain the current standards and be non-regressive. However, in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’, Employer Insolvency arrangements and European Works Councils will be impacted upon.  

The future for workers (status and rights) 

For further guidance on the future for workers, catch up on our past HR webinar recordings and sign up for our upcoming HR webinars.

We will keep you up to date with the different workplace legislation changes that employers need to know about, and provide advice on how to prepare, as your HR practices will need to hit the ground running in April 2020.

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