Good Work Plan and the Taylor Review

The Taylor Review

In October 2016, the government commissioned Matthew Taylor to carry out an independent review into the UK employment framework.

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices found that the labour market was changing due to the emergence of new business models and different forms of ‘gig economy’ working.

The review focused on three areas:

  • tackling exploitation
  • increasing clarity in the law and helping people to know and exercise their rights
  • aligning the incentives driving the nature of our labour market with the modern industrial strategy and other national objectives

It concluded that the legislative framework must be reviewed to accommodate the reality of people’s working relationships.

Taylor made 53 recommendations to government on issues such as:

  • employment status – setting out the status tests in legislation and developing a new test for ‘dependent contractors’ (workers)
  • written statement of employment particulars – making this a right for both employees and workers from day one
  • continuity of service – extending the period for breaking continuity to four weeks
  • agency workers – improving transparency of information and abolishing the ‘Swedish derogation
  • holiday pay – extending the pay reference period to 52 weeks
  • enforcement – expanding the remit of existing bodies to enforce employment rights
  • zero-hours contracts – introducing a right to request a contract reflecting hours worked

Good Work Plan proposals

The government accepted 51 of the 53 recommendations and set out its Good Work Plan, which outlined how it planned to implement Taylor’s recommendations.

In 2018, the government held four consultations on reforms to the law surrounding:

In 2019, the government held three more consultations on:

The government sought views on:

  • codifying the common law employment status tests
  • creating new ‘objective’ statutory employment status tests
  • redefining the ‘worker’ employment status
  • defining ‘self-employed’ and ‘employer’ in legislation
  • aligning the frameworks for determining employment status for employment rights and tax

The government sought views on:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of state-led enforcement of employment rights
  • simplifying the process for enforcement of employment tribunals
  • establishing a naming scheme for employers who do not pay an issued penalty
  • imposing financial penalties for aggravated breach

The government sought views on:

  • introducing a ‘key facts page’ for work seekers carrying out temporary agency work
  • extending the remit of the Employment Standards Agency to umbrella companies and intermediaries
  • making sure the Swedish derogation is used appropriately

The government sought views on:

  • extending the right to a written statement to permanent employees with less than one month’s service and non-permanent staff
  • expanding the information that employers are required to provide in a written statement
  • extending the period counted as a break in continuous service beyond one week
  • extending the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks
  • introducing a right to request a more stable contract
  • extending the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 to include workers

The government sought views on the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations on:

  • the right to reasonable notice of work schedules
  • compensation for shifts that are cancelled at short notice

The government sought views on the case for a new single enforcement body for employment rights, including the:

  • remit of a new body
  • interaction with other areas of enforcement
  • approach to compliance
  • powers a new enforcement body would need

The government sought views on:

  • reforming existing entitlements to parental leave and pay
  • introducing a duty on employers to consider if a job can be done flexibly
  • requiring large employers (with 250 or more employees) to publish their family-related leave, pay and flexible working policies

Our view

We believe that a key factor in creating a high value and high skilled economy is to have a solid employment law framework.

We’re calling on the government to introduce a system that makes sure that employment rights work for all.

To achieve this, three conditions must be present:

  • a good understanding of employment rights
  • a strong enforcement system
  • better use of information

We support greater clarity in the way that employment status is defined.

We welcome the concept of creating a single enforcement body for employment rights.

We suggest that the government carries out a comprehensive review of employment legislation to make sure our laws reflect the reality of work.

What this means for solicitors

The government is analysing the feedback from its consultations on the Taylor review’s recommendations.

In April 2020, secondary legislation came into force that:

  • extended the right to a written statement to workers
  • made the right to a written statement a right for employees and workers from day one
  • expanded the written statement information requirements
  • extended the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks
  • abolished the Swedish derogation model for agency workers
  • entitled all agency workers to a key facts sheet setting out their employment relationship
  • protected agency workers considered to be employees from unfair dismissal when asserting Agency Worker Regulations rights
  • reduced the percentage of employees required to make a request for an agreement on the sharing of information and consultation in the workplace from 10% to 2%

The government has said that it will put forward a broad Employment Bill to protect and enhance worker’s rights.

The text has yet to be published and it’s unclear whether this legislation would implement the remaining recommendations made by the Taylor Review.

We’ll update this page as soon as we have more information.

What's changing

The statutory instruments created in March 2019 and December 2018 came into force.

The government announced in the Queen’s Speech that it would introduce a new Employment Bill.

The government made three statutory instruments, giving effect to some of the Taylor review’s recommendations:

The government published a response to the Taylor Review and accepted most of the recommendations.

It also launched four consultations to capture views on the Taylor Review’s recommendations:

Matthew Taylor published his Review of Modern Working Practices.