Workers will receive compensation for lost shifts as a part of the Government’s Good Work Plan proposals.
The Good Work Plan is a significant review of workers’ rights, which could impact millions of employees in shift work and zero-hour contracts.
The Government has drafted legislation on the Good Work Plan that involves changing and adding new employment laws to reflect the changing working practices, such as in the gig economy. The changes are set to come into effect in April 2020.
The reforms would mean that workers would be entitled to compensation from employers when shifts are cancelled at short notice, as well as putting in place a ‘reasonable’ period of notice for shifts that are allocated.
The Government is also proposing that further protection is afforded to workers that are reprimanded for not accepting shifts with little notice.
Greg Clark, Business Secretary, said: “Innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities, providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.
“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly.
“We are the first country in the world to address modern working practices and these protections will cement the UK’s status as a world-leader in workers’ rights.”
Workers could also be given the right to change their contract to reflect the hours that they actually work, with a particular focus on the gig economy.
The Government has ordered consultation on several recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission, including concerns over one-sided flexibility in employment contracts.
Bryan Sanderson, Chair of the Low Pay Commission, said: “We are delighted to see the Government taking forward our recommendation to consult on these measures.
“Last year we looked at the data on one-sided flexibility and talked to workers and businesses across the UK. Our report, published in December, found that shift cancellations and short notice of work schedules were significant problems, especially for low-paid workers.”
Samantha Randall, a solicitor with Palmers who specialises in employment law, said: “The proposed Good Work Plan will further re-enforce the rights of workers.
“In addition to compensation for lost shifts, another key change is the introduction of the right to request a more stable contract.
“This will be available to all workers that have accrued 26 weeks’ service. Workers will be able to request, for example, guaranteed hours or a more stable working pattern and employers will be under a duty to consider it.
“Although the Good Work Plan is not due to come into force until next year, if you are currently concerned about your employment contract or entitlements, do not delay seeking legal advice as there is already a great deal of current legislation which may protect your rights.”
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