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Taylor review a clarion call for reform of employment law

11 July 2017

A far-reaching review into modern employment practices was today described by the Law Society of England and Wales as “a clarion call for meaningful reform of our employment laws”.

Commissioned by prime minister Theresa May to look at changing work practices, the Taylor review makes wide-ranging calls to reform employment law including clarifying workplace rights, a larger role for government in cracking down on bad employers, and a fee-free way of determining employment status.

"Matthew Taylor and his team have produced a bold yet balanced report, which highlights how employment laws must be modernised so they fit with the modern world," said Law Society president Joe Egan.

“We are especially pleased to see the report heeds our call to clarify employment rights in a single piece of legislation. UK employment laws are overly complex and not fit for modern work, they cause needless confusion and too many people miss out on basic workplace rights.

“The proposed ‘dependent contractor’ status – a key part of this clarification - is a practical way of lifting people out of false self-employment and giving them clear minimum rights, without closing the door to new and flexible ways of working.”

The review also recommends that the government takes a much greater role ensuring employment rights are upheld, mirroring the Law Society’s call for independent enforcement of workplace rights.

“The current law, which depends on someone taking their own employer to court, is clearly not working, letting bad employers exploit vulnerable staff and deny them their rights,” said Joe Egan.

“Only independent government enforcement of employment rights can challenge bad employers on a level playing field, and we’re pleased to see the Taylor review embrace this."

Joe Egan singled out the review’s call for employment status to be able to be determined without workers being charged punitive tribunal fees as being a "keystone of the whole report".

“Having rights without a real ability to enforce them is meaningless, which is why it’s so important that the review recognises the massive barrier employment tribunal fees create.

“We know that employment tribunal fees have cut people’s ability to defend their rights at work by 70%, and so it is only right that someone should be able to get a ruling on what rights they have at work without paying exorbitant fees.

“We applaud Matthew Taylor and his team for the work they have put into this review. These recommendations are a blueprint to make employment law clearer and employment rights quicker and easier to enforce, to the benefit of workers, employers, and society as a whole.”

Notes to editors

Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws is available to speak on the Taylor review.  Please contact Oliver Searle to arrange an interview.

The Law Society made three key recommendations to the Taylor review:

  • better understanding, with a single set of employment rights in one piece of law
  • better enforcement, with government taking a much larger role in enforcing employment rights
  • better information, with large employers reporting key information to encourage transparent employment practices.

Read the Law Society’s full recommendations.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Oliver Searle | | +44 (0)20 7316 5624