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Theresa May Orders Review of Employment Law

Theresa May Orders Review of Employment Law

UK Employment law policy and foreign workers

Theresa May has appointed Matthew Taylor, a former key adviser to Tony Blair, to lead a major review into zero-hours contracts, the rights of the self-employed and people who work for new technology platforms, like the Uber ride-hailing service.

The Prime Minister said: “We are building a new centre-ground in British politics; improving the security and rights of ordinary working people is a key part of building a country and an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

She added: “Flexibility and innovation are a vital part of what makes our economy strong but it is essential that these virtues are combined with the right support and protections for workers.”

Mr Taylor, now head of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, acknowledged challenges and risks for employers and employees: “We need to approach this issue with an open mind recognising that within our flexible system of employment the same type of contract can have a diverse range of impacts on the people who use them,” he added.

He added: “What’s more, around six million people are not covered by the standard suite of workplace rights. Worryingly, that number continues to grow, and it shows how rapidly changing business models and working practices are continually stretching the limits of our employment rules.”

Amber Rudd’s plan to force firms to reveal foreign staff numbers has been abandoned

Employers groups have reacted cautiously to the proposals. Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD described the plans as divisive, suggesting they risk demonising companies that employ migrants.

“Greater transparency in workforce make-up can be a good thing… However, a Government-mandated list designed to name and shame organisations is entirely inappropriate and sends the wrong message about tackling a complex issue of skills shortages across the workforce,” he said.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills at the IoD, welcomed the review: “The technological revolution has allowed thousands of new businesses to thrive and is transforming the world of work. These changes are bringing great opportunities but it is right that the Government is looking to mitigate the unintended consequences that these new models can have on employees,” he said.

Nicola Sturgeon vows to flout any legal restrictions on foreign workers

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed she will back businesses who flout any UK law ordering them to list the foreign workers they employ.

Speaking during a Holyrood debate on the issue, she said: “I would absolutely stand four-square beside any company that refused to comply with any request to publish details of foreign workers. What I find particularly offensive is the idea that companies will be named and shamed for the foreign workers that they employ, as if there was something shameful about employing workers from other countries”.

In Europe, Mario Giro, Italy’s deputy foreign minister, has suggested the proposals made Britain unrecognisable. “This is not the UK that we have always known, it’s the crib of democracy. This may help for domestic political purposes, but it does not correspond to their tradition,” he said.

Employment law advice for employers

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